Not-So-Funny Business Going on with the Stimulus Numbers

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 17, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: A special "On the Record" congratulations to the 15th district of Arizona. It created 30 jobs from the stimulus money. Oh, wait. There is no 15th district in Arizona.

And that's not the only state creating jobs in districts that simply don't exist. What's going on? More funny business with the stimulus numbers?

Senior economics writer for the "Wall Street Journal" editorial page Steve Moore joins us from St. Louis. Steve, I don't know what's better, for me to think our government is incompetent or dishonest about this. What happened?

STEVE MOORE, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": You know, Greta, you asked me this question last week, you remember, when you first broke this story about all of these faulty and dishonest mistakes that have been made about how many jobs were being created. And at the time I said I thought that these were honest mistakes that were made, you know, in these reports.

But what has happened...

VAN SUSTEREN: Oh, good. They are incompetent then.

MOORE: Exactly. But actually in the next 10 days what we found is day after day after day more reports are coming out and every one of them shows this same kinds of mistakes, all of the mistakes are in the same direction, overstating the jobs.

And some of the stuff is just inexcusable, it's Bernie Madoff accounting at You mentioned 30 jobs in a district that doesn't even exist in Arizona. There is a new report out tonight, the same thing happened in Ohio where dozens of jobs said were created in districts that don't exist.

Here is another one, Greta. This is one of my favorite ones. They claim that there were 25 jobs created in a district in Connecticut. But, guess what, they didn't get any stimulus money. So how could the stimulus have created these jobs?

I was in Nebraska today. There was a report in the newspaper here where five of the jobs that they claimed that were created with stimulus money, those were people who were paid to count the number of jobs that were created. I mean, it's just craziness.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me be charitable and assume that it isn't our government being dishonest with us but being incompetent with the stimulus money that was passed in February.


VAN SUSTEREN: So here is what comes to mind. If they are incompetent in how they handle the stimulus in February, why in the world do we think they have suddenly gotten competent when it comes to issue of health care?

I mean, did they all suddenly get an IQ boost or an efficiency boost or whatever? That's the tragedy. We do need health care, we do need the economy fixed, but it sounds -- I mean, how can we possibly have confidence when we see incompetence, we don't see upward trend of competence?

MOORE: This is government fumbling and bumbling at its worse. When they can't even count the number of jobs that have been created when they make up these fictitious numbers of 600,000 jobs, which is something that the vice president said a few weeks ago, and then when he is challenged on it, when you go to the reports, guess what, it's not 600,000 jobs. It's way less than that.

And I think that people have to really question the honesty and the integrity of the government work.

I think part of the problem also here, Greta, is that the people who are reporting these numbers have a systematic bias in terms of overstating the jobs that they created so that they can get more jobs, I mean more money from the federal government.

So I think you make the right point. Can we trust the government to take over healthcare system and run that efficiently when they can't even put out an audit report that has accurate numbers?

VAN SUSTEREN: And I might add they can't count votes in the 23rd district of New York, Congressional district. We finally got that one sorted out. And of course, who would forget Florida.

But here is another one,, which is a Web site administered by the Obama administration, says $34 million in stimulus money was spent in Arizona's 86th in a project for the Navajo people. But it turns out there is no 86th district.


It says $34 million spent. Who got that $34 million? I hope the incompetence is that $34 million was never spent. I hope the incompetence isn't that $34 million wasn't spent there but to someone's uncle.

MOORE: Again, the White House is saying these were inadvertent errors. But you know I find that hard to believe.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's fine. Steve, Steve, I'm fine if it's inadvertent. But even if it is inadvertent, that's another way of saying it's incompetent. Even if they are incompetent, that's a bad sign. That's a terrible sign if you expect the same group to overhaul health care.

MOORE: Right. Either they are dishonest or incompetent.

But here is the point. Nevada, how about this one? They spent $6 million in one district and they created 12 jobs. That's $500,000 per job. This isn't working. The stimulus is not creating jobs at an efficient rate. And it's way too expensive.

VAN SUSTEREN: Got to go. Steve, thank you.

MOORE: OK, sorry about this bad news, but they can't count.

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