Committed to the belief that bigger government is always better, Media Matters and Campaign for America's Future are pushing back data showing that the New Deal never solved unemployment. Cutting through their rhetoric, both leftist organizations make the same narrow objection: that the data we use does not count make work government programs like the Civil Conservation Corps as employed.
Now we will always maintain that not counting government work programs as employment is the more accurate measure.
But for the sake of argument, lets cede the point that anyone receiving government employment assistance is 'employed'. Does that end up changing the the impact of New Deal spending on unemployment? No. As the chart above shows, even when using the numbers preferred by the leftist proponents of big government, the story is still the same: Unemployment never made it near the 1970-2008 5.5% normal unemployment rate until well after the U.S. entered World War II.
Got that? Heritage sniffs that the New Deal "never solved unemployment" because it did not bring unemployment from 25 percent all the way down to 5.5 percent.
If the worst the far-right Heritage Foundation can say about the New Deal is that it failed to cut the unemployment rate by 80 percent, that sounds like a pretty solid, if accidental, endorsement to me.
In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove took quotes from President-elect Barack Obama out of context to falsely claim that Obama criticized the economic stimulus bill as "deficit spending" that represented "the 'disdain for pay-as-you-go budgeting' in Washington." In fact, Obama used those words in a March 2008 speech while discussing the "policies of the Bush Administration," which "threw the economy further out of balance."
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In a Bloomberg News article headlined "Obama Faces Rebellion From Democrats on Stimulus, Nominations," the only evidence cited in the article of "rebellion from Democrats" on President-elect Obama's "nominations" was that Sen. Dianne Feinstein "said she hadn't been consulted on the pick" of Leon Panetta for CIA director "and preferred a CIA director with more experience in intelligence," and that Rep. John Conyers "took aim at reports that Obama is considering naming CNN reporter Sanjay Gupta as surgeon general." In fact, Feinstein reportedly stated that she was "going to vote for" Panetta. And as a member of the House of Representatives, Conyers will not have a vote on Gupta's confirmation.
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Summary: On Special Report, Major Garrett falsely accused President-elect Obama of making an untrue assertion when Obama said that the 2.589 million jobs lost in 2008 were "the most since World War II." In fact, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there has been no greater net job decline in any calendar year since the end of World War II than occurred in 2008.
CNN's Lou Dobbs claimed that President-elect Barack Obama "didn't talk about NAFTA" during a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderón and later claimed Obama and Calderón "didn't talk about NAFTA, after so much of it ... was made on the campaign trail." In fact, according to an Obama spokesman, Obama "expressed his continued commitment to upgrading NAFTA" and "proposed the creation of a consultative group to work on a host of issues important to the United States and Mexico, including NAFTA."
Here's how the AP addressed Bush's claim (it's a White House evergreen) that he "inherited" a recession in 2001 [emphasis added]:
BUSH: "In terms of the economy — look, I inherited a recession, I'm ending on a recession. In the meantime, there were 52 months of uninterrupted job growth."
THE FACTS: There have been two recessions during Bush's time in office. The first was a relatively mild downturn that began in March 2001 and lasted eight months, ending in November 2001. Since the first one did not begin until after he took office in January 2001, it is not strictly accurate to say he "inherited" it.
Why the "strictly," when the sentence would have been more factual without it? Bush did not inherit a recession. Period. His claim is inaccurate and the AP ought to say so without muddying the language with phrases like "strictly."
Media figures have claimed or suggested that President-elect Barack Obama is only now admitting that he may have to scale back his campaign agenda as a result of the weak economy. In fact, Obama repeatedly said prior to the November 2008 election that some policies he proposed on the campaign trail might need to be delayed because of economic conditions.
A Washington Post article repeated the Bush administration's assertion that "increased spending on counterterrorism, national security and the military after the Sept. 11 attacks" was an "unavoidable" cause of the large budget deficits the administration has run up since 2001. In fact, much of that spending was for the United States' avoidable war in Iraq, which played no role in the 9-11 attacks.
Fox News' Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President-elect Barack Obama's economic plan gives money to "people that don't pay any taxes," echoing the oft-repeated myth from the presidential campaign that Obama's proposed tax cuts would go to people who don't pay taxes. In fact, Obama has proposed giving the tax credit to "working families," which means they do pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.
Summary: A Wall Street Journal editorial opposing legislation to overturn the Supreme Court decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber ignored the effect of the Ledbetter decision on employees who were unaware for long periods of time that they had received lower pay due to discrimination. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated in her dissent in Ledbetter, a plaintiff's longtime lack of knowledge that discrimination has occurred is not unusual in pay discrimination cases, pointing out that in the case at hand, Goodyear "kept salaries confidential; [and] employees had only limited access to information regarding their colleagues' earnings."
The Washington Post purported to represent organized labor's argument for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act by reporting that "unions contend" employers exert "unfair pressure" on workers before elections. However, the word "pressure" inaccurately describes what the "unions contend" are the tactics used by employers to stop a union from organizing, which include intimidating workers, firing workers, and threatening to shut down factories and businesses.
In his column, MSNBC's Pat Buchanan cherry-picked unemployment figures to assert that the New Deal failed to reduce unemployment and that the program was a "bust," referring to unemployment figures that did not include government-relief employment created by New Deal programs. Buchanan also repeated the false claim that President-elect Barack Obama's proposed tax cuts will benefit "individuals who do not even pay taxes."