Quantifying “Political Development”: The “Foregone Job Loss Index”

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President Obama’s claim to have “saved or created” 150,000 jobs has been snarked by some on the right, but in Michigan such boasts are nothing new. Citizens here are treated to a steady stream of press releases from politicians and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation – dutifully and uncritically copy-and-pasted into newspapers and TV news scripts – all reporting in chirpy, expectant tones, “MEDC incentives created or retained X jobs last month!”

Given that the federal stimulus program and Michigan’s economic central planning empire are fundamentally political development programs – not economic development ones – the politicians need a new metric to quantify their accomplishments. Today I am introducing that metric:

The Foregone Job Loss Index

Calculating the current figure is easy: You simply take the number of jobs left in the economy at this moment, and that’s the number.

Michigan now has 3.900 million non-farm payroll employment jobs not-yet-destroyed. That makes our Foregone Job Loss figure 3.900 million.

Or to describe it another way, employers of 3.900 million Michigan workers have not yet been driven under or out of the state by Lansing’s ongoing success at making Michigan an even more undesirable place to do business.

At the federal level the Foregone Job Loss figure is 132.1 million – that’s how many jobs the current administation has succeeded in not destroying since January.

This metric adds an important new tool to the political development tool box of our state’s and nation’s political class. As long as their policies cause overall employment to decline, politicians will be able to quantify the number of jobs they have not destroyed yet.

One important caveat for politicians: Strongly discourage any discussion of changes in the Foregone Job Loss Index. For example, in January 2009 the national figure was 134.3 million jobs not-yet-destroyed. Focusing attention on the 2.182 million job decline in the index does not serve your political development goals.

Similarly, in Michigan the political class will want to squelch any discussion of the 552,900 decline in the Foregone Job Loss Index since January, 2002.

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4 Responses to “Quantifying “Political Development”: The “Foregone Job Loss Index””

  1. Ken Says:

    It’s brilliant, it’s simple, I love it! However, I am the kind of person who is inclined to track those month-to-month changes that do “not serve your political development goals.”

  2. Jack McHugh Says:

    Thanks Ken! I think my tongue was bit too dry when I stuck it in cheek here, because not many people got this. :( :rolleyes: ;-)

  3. JH Says:

    Jack, unfortunately I don’t think that this is all that politically useful. You’re counting everything so you can’t multiply it.

    I recommend dividing the index by 2. That way a pol can say “We’ve forgone losing 70 million jobs and that has meant 70 million additional job losses have been prevented.”

  4. Jack McHugh Says:

    The multiplier effect! Duh! How could I have forgotten such a useful tool!

    Ach, and I thought I was pretty good at analysing this political development stuff. :(

    ;-)

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