Shocking or par for the course?
Via the Washington Free Beacon:
Obama administration officials may have pressured government contractors to change job loss estimates associated with coal regulations, audio recordings reveal.
The tapes show that unnamed officials with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) asked government contractors to change their calculations of job losses associated with the Stream Protection Rule.
A preliminary draft of an environmental impact statement estimated that up to 7,000 coalminers could lose their jobs under the administration’s “preferred” regulation. After a leaked copy of the report went public, officials asked the contractors to compare job estimates to a model in which another regulation was enforced, rather than the real world numbers.
“It’s not the real world, this is rulemaking,” an OSM official tells a skeptical contractor on the recording.
“If we’re to assume [the 2008 rule] is enforced in the coal-producing states, this is a very small [impact],” the contractor replies. “But that, as you said, is not the real world, that’s pretending … I thought we were looking at what’s going to change in Kentucky, what’s going to change in Pennsylvania, what’s going to change in Ohio, what’s going to change in Wyoming.”
When a second OSM official makes light of the “theoretical discussion,” the contractor shoots back that “his [the OSM official’s proposed criteria] was theoretical, mine was practical.”
The agency fired the contractors studying the rule less than one month later.
Not only has the administration been caught red-handed trying to manipulate numbers, they actively tried to cover up the scandal.
The House Natural Resources Committee obtained the tapes from an unidentified third party after OSM provided heavily redacted transcripts—the exchange above, for example, was blacked out—and withheld the audio recordings.
This is an administration that was caught nearly two years ago trying to inflate job numbers by demanding that Department of Energy contractors use a metric called ‘lives touched’ when counting jobs created via the stimulus. As explained by a CH2M Hill spokesman in the summer of 2010:
“Lives Touched” is a figure that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) uses to track the amount of people who have been positively affected by the Recovery Act funds. This total would include people who have been provided full time employment (i.e. saved and created jobs) through the Recovery Act and people who at some point have supported a project funded by the Recovery Act.
This meant that the DOE’s accounting system was not accurately counting jobs, but rather was tracking a cumulative analysis of all individuals who contribute anything to any given project. An overall headcount of sorts. According to reporting instructions for CH2M subcontractors, this constitutes the “total number of workers who have directly charged 1 or more hours of work time to a … contract”
This new report on contractors and the coal industry is just another in a pattern of the Obama administration using smoke and mirrors to convince the American people that the economy isn’t nearly as bad as one would think. This particular case had the added effect of trying to minimize the tangible evidence that Obama was intentionally trying to kill the coal industry – a result that has been definitively proven.
Ace of Spades writes:
Where a woman asked why Obama was issuing so many visas to foreign engineers, when her own husband couldn’t land a job in the field?
And Obama said to forward the resume along, and he’d do what could?
That guy still doesn’t have a job.
Now, aside from the fact that it’s not necessarily the job of the President to indulge in job placement for individuals, would it not have behooved him to make sure this guy was hired somewhere, if for no other reason than to use it as proof that he can create jobs, or excuse me, touch lives? Instead, it can now be held up as yet another embarrassing example of the President’s economic inability.
More than two months after President Barack Obama asked for Darin Wedel’s résumé, the phone is quiet, e-mails are no longer flooding in and the long-sought-after job interviews — which had begun to be scheduled — have petered out.
“Not even recruiting companies are calling anymore,” said Jennifer Wedel, the Fort Worth mother of two who chatted online this year with Obama about her out-of-work husband.
Human Events explains why this matters:
The “optics” of this story are absolutely horrible for the White House, but it was actually horrible from the moment it began. The idea that Americans should have to beg the royal court for indulgences – which the court then demonstrates it cannot provide! – is nauseating, and it’s not a new aspect of the Obama presidency. In the very first weeks of his Administration, he was at a town hall meeting in Florida when a homeless woman asked him for a house, and lo! A house was soon offered, after the President hugged her.
The President loves to govern by anecdote, peppering his speeches with references to all the letters of supplication he receives from the New Poor (formerly known as “the middle class”) All of these people’s lives will supposedly be shattered if the Obama agenda is opposed. The childish absurdity of basing the decisions of a titanic mega-government on a handful of personal appeals never occurs to him, or to the media, which congratulates him on his political skill in “personalizing” huge social “crises.” That’s how the last shreds of cold, hard reason are steamed out of our discussion of the most bankrupt government in history.
It’s Obamanomics in a nutshell: if you’re lucky enough to find your way into his carefully controlled town hall meetings, or you’ve got the right political connections, you can do okay… until things get so bad that His Majesty can no longer wave his hand and cause bounty to be showered upon selected peasants. Fortunately, Obama can count on the media to downplay this story, instead of treating it as a powerful symbolic moment in a failed presidency, as they would if he were a Republican.
Perhaps the man should be down at the unemployment office seeking some of those famed ‘Obama bucks’.