Group reports finding wacky numbers on federal stimulus site

Tom Steward of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota — who’s always quick to alert us about tax spending he finds outrageous — reports finding some wacky numbers on the federal government website that tracks stimulus spending.

The basic Minnesota page seems to be working OK, but when you scroll down the page and click on the link View All Congressional Districts, some strange listings show up:

The site claims, for example, that in Minnesota’s 57th congressional district, 35 jobs have been saved or created as a result of $404,340 in stimulus spending.

Only 2.5 jobs, though, were created or saved in Minnesota ’s 27th congressional district, despite $3,159,657 of taxpayer dollars, the site says.

It also lists results in Minnesota’s 11th, 12th, 13th and even the 00th congressional district. Talk about gerrymandering.

Of course, Minnesota only has eight congressional districts, so the website obviously has some glitches. Maybe a lot of glitches.

Steward raises the question, though, of whether it is more than a glitch, maybe something insidious.

In a statement he says:

“Many have raised questions about the creative calculations used to estimate the number of jobs created or saved thus far as a result of the $787 billion stimulus package. Stories have proliferated around the country of non-existent or over-hyped results, including in Minnesota.

The glitch in the government’s website only adds to the questions and concerns over the reliability of the stimulus spending jobs data and undermines the credibility of the tracking system.”

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by John Roach on 11/18/2009 - 08:49 pm.

    Here is a link to the current Minnesota congressional district summary page:
    http://origins.recovery.gov/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=stateSummaryAllCD&statecode=MN&title=Minnesota Funding by District

    The summary page that the “Freedom Foundation” displays does not currently exist. Notice the first eight lines of the screenshotted report that FF displays. That data is accurate and complete. It is identical to what is currently displayed on the recovery.gov web site.

    The remaining data on the page has now been combined and is currently listed as “Unassigned congressional district” on the ninth line. The spurious placekeeping district numbers have now been deleted. The first eight lines, which list Minnnesota’s eight congressional districts, have not changed. The ninth line contains the identical data that was previously mislabeled, combined into one category.

    Naturally, the right is all atwitter about this.

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