Yesterday, I posted the following on regarding Obama administration Chief Economist Christina Romer’s statement that the "stimulus" had essentially already done its job and will level off next year:

Mission accomplished. Well, that may not be exactly how she phrased it, but in a nutshell, that’s what she’s saying about the "stimulus," You know, the passage of which was going to prevent the unemployment rate from going up above 8 percent but hasn’t. 

Christina Romer, the chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, told a Congressional panel today that

spending from the $787 billion economic stimulus has already had its biggest impact on economic growth and will likely not contribute to significant expansion next year.

But, that doesn’t matter. Here’s why. You may not have realized it with unemployment peaking at 9.8%, but, according to Romer, the package has really been working, and has so far "saved or created" 600,000 to 1.5 million jobs. 

Which brings us back to our favorite pet peeve – the fuzzy math of the "saved/created" boondoggle. Sure you can get to these numbers if you do what apparently state agencies are being instructed to do in their reports to the recovery board.

Disregard the distinction between „created‟ and „retained.‟ Simply count all employees paid for with Recovery Act funds.

Since we’ll never know what would have happened absent the "stimulus," there is no way to verify or falsify this claim.

But what we do know is that, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the passage of the "stimulus" over 2.6 million people have lost their jobs, and non-farm employment is down in 43 of the 50 states. 

Never mind.  Mission accomplished, the Administration says.  How so? Because they say so.

Russ Roberts raised an important point in his post on Cafe Hayek that I would be remiss not to post:

So if the biggest impact has already happened and the effect is going to level off, can we have the other $593 billion back, please?