Thursday, December 3, 2009

Government Job Creation and My Bad Math Skills

Someone tell me if I’m doing the math wrong.

In the 12/3/2009 business section of the Dallas Morning News, there’s an article about a White House summit to create jobs. The good news is that, according to the article, President Obama “returned last week from Asia vowing a renewed emphasis on the role of free trade in job creation.” He’s doing this in a number of ways, including attempting to get better free-trade pacts with Asian countries. And there are other things he wants to do to increase our exports, all of which are good. The article also claims that nearly one-fourth of the manufacturing jobs in Texas depend on exports, so clearly this would be helpful to Texas.

This all makes me happy.

How has the government been doing so far in creating jobs? The article says that unemployment is at 10.2%, “despite the $787 billion stimulus package. The White House argues that the stimulus has created or saved about 1 million jobs, but more must be done. “

Here’s where I need your math help. When I divided $787 billion by $1 million in my head (where is my calculator when I need one?), I get $787,000 spent in stimulus funds per job created or saved.

Obviously, my math skills are diminishing, along with those of the climatologists who can’t understand why their climate models aren’t making correct predictions. Maybe it’s a world-wide phenomenon caused by too much of that extremely-toxic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

In the unlikely event that my math is correct, how many jobs do you think that you could create with $787,000? I’ll bet it’s more than one.

No, I’m sure my math is wrong. I just wish I knew where.


Your Math-Impaired Blogger


Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at



Anonymous said...

I'm one of your students at UTD, and so I know how bad your math skill are. Just kidding. But in case you don't have a sense of humor, I've sent this anonymously.

It really makes me angry when the authors of these articles don't break down the large numbers they give so that they are understandable to the general public. One million jobs created sounds great until you read the fine print.

Here's my message to our government: PLEASE stop trying to create jobs, and just do your job well.

Maybe that's asking too much.

Tim Farage said...

Dear UTD Student,

If I ever find out who you are, I'm going to lower your grade. Keep in mind; I have no sense of humor.

It is asking too much for the government to do it's job well.

Did you know that no administration since 1960 has not added to the national debt. (To his credit, President Clinton almost left no additional debt after being in office 8 years).

President Obama is trying to get Asia, and China in particular, to buy more American goods, and that is a good way to increase American jobs.

Here are three things I would do that would really help:

1) Phase out our troops from overseas, including Iraq and Afghanistan. Take around 3 years to do so, to allow for a smooth transition. We can then reduce the size of our military, and put more troops along our borders and ports. This should eventually save about $300 billion per year.

2) Allow federal spending to increase only at the rate of inflation, and any increased population. Believe it or, this would result in a balanced federal budget fairly quickly. It's hard to give an exact figure, but 10 years is probably close. With a balanced budget, the federal govenment would not be taking trillions of dollars out of the economy which could then be used by investors to create new businesses.

3) Build 50 large nuclear plants, each with about 10 reaction chambers. This would be more than enough to generate all of our electricity needs, and it would be non-polluting, safe, and inexpensive. (The costs to build a plant is high, but the fuel and maintenence costs are low, so the government would probably have to provide loan guarantees to the utitlity companies. The government would also have to forbid lawsuits that prevent their construction.) As a wonderful side benefit, there would be enough electricy capability to power electric cars when they are cost effective in about 10 years. (I'll give more details on this in a future blog). One bottom line is that inexpensive clean, energy reduces the cost of almost everything, thus creating tons of jobs.

4) Replace the income tax with a natural-resource tax. You can read my blog about this for the details, but that would really help to create jobs, too.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Tim Farage said...


Thanks for the compliment. For posts like this, I try to be a bit humorous. When I do a more serious post, such as the ones related to a political platform, I feel constrained to write it so that it will actually be taken seriously. Such is the life of a blogger.

But I do have hot and cold running water, so I won't complain. (I didn't understand this last sentence, either).

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