Is Obama Digging A Hole On Jobs?

I’m sure it pained them but kudos to the New York Times for pointing out the incredible escalation in the number of jobs that the Obama team claims to be able to create.

Recall that we started out on the campaign trail with a promise to create 1 million jobs. After the election we heard about 2.5 million and then it was 3 million and now, as of Saturday, it’s up to 3.7 million. By the way, the 3.7 million figure is the midpoint between 3.3 million and 4.1 million, so if he’s really successful the good times will truly roll again.

It’s always amazing to me to watch politicians dig these holes for themselves. What starts out as a perfectly reasonable undertaking with perfectly reasonable goals gets set up for failure by setting expectations too high. Usually, all it takes to push them over the edge is a little bit of criticism or some push back from Congress and then they start promising things they can’t possibly deliver. The usual result is that either too many have signed onto the program to accept failure, so more and more resources are devoted to trying to deliver the undeliverable, or a few find themselves way out on a limb while their opponents (not necessarily the opposition) and the press gleefully start sawing it off.

I’m beginning to think that’s the road we are heading down on the stimulus bill. The Republican’s are playing it cozy and laying in wait while the Democratic Congress and the Obama administration start digging their hole. Obama’s team is taking the numbers to reaches that can’t possibly delivered upon and the Democrats in Congress know it. Their problem is to appear to be highly proactive without getting sucked into making promises that can come back to haunt.

There are so many uncertainties, so many events beyond the control of the government right now that lowering expectations would seem to be the prudent order of the day. Don’t count on it happening.

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