The narrative that holds that Jerry Brown is a slick operator who is playing chess while the rest of Sacramento is playing checkers continues to hold sway in state media circles. That narrative looks ridiculous when you consider the inept way the gov’s staff responded to a San Jose Mercury-News story Thursday that tore apart the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s claim that the bullet train project would create 1 million jobs. The authority promptly admitted the claim was wrong. The governor’s office? It basically defended the lies. Dumb de dumb dumb.
A spokesman for Brown did not address the jobs claims but in a two-sentence statement called the newspaper report “hyperbolic” and said it “attempted to create an inaccurate impression.”
“High-speed rail will be a major, much-needed boost for California’s economy,” the statement said.
Here’s the key point made by the original SJMN story:
Though California’s high-speed train faces an intensifying backlash over its $99 billion price tag, political leaders from Washington to Sacramento justify the cost by touting another huge number: 1 million jobs the rail line is supposed to create.
But like so many of the promises made to voters who approved the bullet train, those job estimates appear too good to be true.
A review by this newspaper found the railroad would create only 20,000 to 60,000 jobs during an average year and employ only a few thousand people permanently if it’s built.
What was behind the lie told by “Gov. Jerry Brown, the Obama administration, Democratic lawmakers and big city mayors such as San Jose’s Chuck Reed”?
They counted every year of work as a separate job. So if one person were to work 10 years, that would count as 10 jobs. Next, they figured outside companies, such as restaurants and retailers, would hire two new people for every single construction worker.
Grand total: 20,000 construction workers and 40,000 “spinoff” employees — each working the entire 22-year project — would count as more than 1 million jobs.
Yo, Jerry, how can you pretend to hold the high ground here? Yo, Jerry, back in 1992, you were one of the first people on the national political scene to focus on Bill Clinton’s slipperiness. How can you now use the same playbook with a straight face? Yo, Jerry, if you’re governor for four years, should that count as four jobs in calculating state unemployment?
Yo, Jerry, here’s what a sane person, not a spinner, sounds like:
“Job-years and jobs are like apples and Twinkies, they’re not even in the same food group,” said Elizabeth Alexis, a Palo Alto analyst who testified before Congress about the project last week. “It’s not accurate, and it’s misleading; (most of the) people who thought they’re getting jobs are not getting jobs.”
The pathetic twist to this story, of course, is that Brown’s aide lectured the Mercury-News for attempting to create an “inaccurate impression” about the bullet train project.
Yo, Jerry, you trumpet the lie that high-speed rail will create 1 million jobs — and you think others deserve grief for fostering “inaccurate impressions”?
The bullet-train project hasn’t just been built on lies about jobs. It’s been built on lies about cost, ridership, the viability of its business model, environmental benefits, the interest of private investors and so much more.
If fostering “inaccurate impressions” were a crime, the leaders of the rail authority would be on death row.
Yo, Jerry, do you really think it’s smart to defend egregious lies from from an agency with a history of egregious lies?
This isn’t chess. Chess should sue Jerry for giving it a bad name.