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Stimulus equals deception

It seems the president has a new trick up his sleeve to convince us his bloated "stimulus" packages are solving our economic woes: deception.

ABC News called out the Obama administration the other day when, on the official Recovery.gov Web site, the administration reported "jobs added" in Congressional districts which didn't even exist.

Now, those responsible for the web site say they're just reporting the number they're given, and Vice President Biden has told them to fix it. So that's all good, right? We're in the clear; the president is on top of it ...

Not likely.

This is the transparency we were promised? Huge sums of money going to clearly unknown places to create clearly nonexistent jobs? In Oklahoma alone, this web site tells us $19 million went to parts nonexistent. $11 million in Iowa. $48 million to Puerto Rico. $34 million in Arizona. $140.5 million in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

That is, we think. But as none of the districts mentioned in Oklahoma, Iowa, Arizona, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands seem to exist on any Congressional map, we really have no idea. Perhaps, we're stimulating Tolkein's Middle Earth, instead!

Even these fictional stimulus projects seem unable to do much. That $19 million in Oklahoma only managed to create 15 jobs. Nice salaries, those.

This isn't simply a matter of changing a few numbers on a web site, a mistyped district there, an extra "4" over there. No, this is a desperate floundering to appear to meet unmet promises.

Even in the real districts, these numbers, this great transparency we've been offered, mean nothing. If someone thinks a transaction saved someone a job, it gets counted. Not only is that job hypothetical, it's also one of those "saved" jobs, not actually new employment created. Not even the slightest bit of help to an unemployment rate higher than anything we've seen in over two decades.

There's talk of yet another stimulus to "create jobs." Are we supposed to have simply forgotten that creating jobs was the stated purpose of the last stimulus?

The most recent package promised to "create or save" 3.5 million jobs by next year. Even the unbelievable Recovery.gov doesn't believe that has happened. Moreover, 90 percent of those jobs were supposed to have been created in the private sector. Instead, most of the jobs we're seeing claimed are in fact public sector jobs, and there have been multiple challenges to the accuracy of those reports.

And as more and more taxpayer money goes to unnecessary and inefficient projects, we are only told that the effort is working, we're saving jobs and President Obama has us on the right track.

He might need a little bit more of your money to get us all the way there, of course, but that's only because what we're doing is accomplishing so much.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of this. Real people are struggling to keep their jobs and to make ends meet. Real people are circling ad after ad in the Sunday paper praying this time, please, let it work. Real people are seeing their tax dollars frittered away on foolishness. Real people and real problems should not be made into political semantics.

On one level, it makes for an entertaining story. Heard the one about my brother-in-law taking one of those stimulus jobs? Yeah, he had to move to Missouri's 83rd District to take it. It was only after he arrived he found Missouri only had nine.

Yet on every other level this is the sad story, already grown stale in the repeating, of an administration which promises things it cannot deliver and then backs away from responsibility.

Mike Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is chairman and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. E-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.