The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Will Phantom Districts Help Pay Back Stimulus Debt?

with 7 comments

We’ve already written about the bloated number of jobs “created or saved” by the stimulus.

But, apparently, the government has just plain lied about some of these figures. After ABC News reported that Arizona state authorities had mysteriously created jobs in districts that don’t exist, I thought I’d check to see if South Carolina’s bureaucrats have done the same.

Turns out, my assumptions were proven correct. According to the government recovery website, there were jobs created in the following districts – none of which actually exist:


District Jobs Created/Saved Cost
7th district


25 $27.6 million
16th district


6 $6.5 million
43rd district


0 $3.1 million
00 district


1.4 $1.8 million
45th district


16 $1.1 million
32nd district


3 $502,011
12th district


1 $149,740


That’s $40.75 million in stimulus money for 52.4 mystery jobs in these 7 mystery districts. That’s $777,672 per mystery job.

It’s difficult to say what is worse – that the 00 district created 1.4 jobs with $1.8 million or that it cost $3.1 million to produce 0 jobs in the nonexistent 43rd district.

Sure, human error might explain a few mistakes here and there. But we’re talking about $6.4 billion spent in 440 phantom districts. Why has nobody taken the time to double check these numbers?

State and federal officials have been preaching openness in government and accountability. But transparency is only transparent if it’s based on accurate information.


Written by Geoff Pallay

November 17, 2009 at 3:31 pm

7 Responses

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  1. […] regarding the apparent funneling of stimulus dollars to non-existent congressional districts – news the Policy Council broke in South Carolina – the U.S. government has revised its data related to Recovery Act […]

  2. […] the government can’t create jobs and isn’t even very good at pretending to do so. As the French economist Frederic Bastiat argues in a famous essay, everything the government does […]

  3. […] regarding the apparent funneling of stimulus dollars to non-existent congressional districts – news the Policy Council broke in South Carolina. Days later the U.S. government revised its data but the new information raised still more […]

  4. […] was broken by Rio Grande Foundation investigative reporter Jim Scarantino, and in our state by the Policy Council. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)The Best & Worst to Come: Environmental […]

  5. […] 4, 2010 11:25 am Last month, the Policy Council reported that phantom districts were listed on the website as having received stimulus […]

  6. […] much like when the stimulus numbers were fudged and found in phantom districts, this budget seems like more of the same from […]

  7. […] this year, there were phantom districts, phantom zip codes, and questionable job creation […]

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