Thursday, February 19, 2009
Create or Save 4 Million Jobs
Greg Mankiw has a post on Obama's promise to "Create or Save" 4 million jobs. He thinks it's a brilliant political tool, which is another way of saying it is a rather slippery formulation. The two notions are distinct. If we were to measure job creation we would use the employment baseline that exists today. Thus, a year hence if there were 4 million more jobs than there are today the president has delivered on his promise. This is a measurable task. Saving four million jobs isn't because it requires us to assume the counterfactual presented is valid. In other words, one could argue that if there are four million fewer jobs a year from now the president saved four million jobs because if his various policy initiatives had not been enacted there would have been eight million jobs fewer than there are today. I wish the press wouldn't constantly recite this talking point as it is essentially garbage.