Last month, President-Elect Obama proposed to create or save 2.5 million jobs. Although the press dutifully reported it as though it were a meaningful target, the “or save” phrase makes it impossible to measure whether he has succeeded. Whatever happens, so long as total employment doesn’t drop below 2.5 million, Obama can argue that we would have been 2.5 million worse off without his policies. Currently, 145 million people are employed, so the essence of his “ambitious” benchmark is for employment to drop by less than 98.3%.
Ah, but that was then. Now, Obama has increased his meaningless figure to 3 million jobs created or saved. With the new “more ambitious” goal, he’s only covered if employment drops by less than 97.9%.