The news that some of the jobs that the government reported had been “created or saved” as a result of the so-called “stimulus” spending bill were listed under non-existent Congressional districts created a mini-scandal.  It’s disturbing that the Administration was sloppy enough to miss such as obvious reporting mistake. But it’s really no surprise that many people plugged in the wrong Congressional District when filling out what almost certainly must be confusing government forms (are there any other kind?).  After all, even many wonkey, policy types don’t know the number of their Congressional District.

It’s the entire process that’s a pretty scandalous waste of time.  The government gives away billions of dollars to entities that are struggling to make ends meet, and then adds to their burden by making them fill out a bunch of confusing paperwork.  How many people exactly would I have fired if it hadn’t been for this grant?  Surely many grant recipients are guessing, and since they were the beneficiaries of government’s largess, they have an incentive to make the handout look as good as possible, so it’s pretty safe to assume that many are overshooting.

Perhaps there are bureaucrats that are somehow scrubbing these numbers and following up for some kind of documentation for the claims. Even so, doesn’t this all seem like a pretty spectacular waste of time? Wouldn’t it have been better if the money that is going to create what is at best a very speculative guesstimate about the number of jobs that maybe, sorta, are around because of the stimulus bill were instead used for some kind of productive activity? I know that the Administration wants people to believe the stimulus worked, but as this article reports, no one is buying it anyway.

It seems like these bureaucrats’ time would have been better spent making a pile of leaves and then kicking them over again. At least then it would have only been their time they were wasting.