From the February 21 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:
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Fox News' Sean Hannity and Fox & Friends misleadingly cropped White House economic advisor Christina Romer's remarks to claim that "she contradicted herself" because she said on February 17 that the biggest bang from the stimulus is "absolutely not" behind us and stated in October 2009 that "fiscal stimulus will have its greatest impact on growth in the second and third quarters of 2009." However, as her unedited remarks show, Romer was discussing the impact of the stimulus on employment on February 17 and the impact on GDP in October 22.
On the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Fox & Friends purported to analyze the results of the bill and repeatedly shed doubt on the impact of the stimulus on the employment situation. But Fox & Friends ignored independent analyses of the stimulus, including those conducted by Moody's Economy.com and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, that said the measure raised employment by 1 to 2.4 million jobs by the end of 2009.
From the February 17 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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On the February 16 edition of Fox News' Fox and Friends, guest host Eric Bolling claimed of stimulus money: "$272 billion has been spent," but only "595,000 jobs [have been] created," adding, "that's $450,000 per job." In fact, the Recovery.gov employment numbers Bolling cited only represents jobs funded from October 1-December 31, 2009, which make up a small part of the total number of jobs that the White House and other economists estimate have been funded by the stimulus.
Fox News and Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft have seized on comments made by National Economic Council director Larry Summers to claim that he said higher taxes on the rich would lead to job growth. In fact, Summers said that President Obama's economic proposals, such as "rewarding people directly for hiring workers," as well as other measures, will be more effective at job creation than extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
While criticizing a proposal to extend unemployment insurance and tax credits to subsidize health insurance for the unemployed, Fox News' Eric Bolling appeared to suggest that a large number of unemployed workers are staying on the dole in order to take advantage of the generous government gravy train.
Guest hosting on Fox News' Your World, Bolling and Christian Dorsey of the Economic Policy Institute discussed provisions EPI would like to see included in a jobs bill. "We encourage and support the idea that you renew your commitments to unemployment insurance, extending the subsidies for COBRA health insurance," Dorsey said.
COBRA -- the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act -- provides a mechanism for displaced workers to purchase insurance by paying both their and their former employer's portion of the premium. A provision in the 2009 stimulus legislation established a tax credit for insurers to offset 65 percent of that premium, a provision that was set to expire at the end of 2009; in December, Congress extended the tax credit through the end of this month.
It should be noted that unemployment benefits provide among the strongest "fiscal bang for the buck" of any form of economic stimulus, as economist Mark Zandi demonstrated in 2008 congressional testimony. Dorsey explained:
DORSEY: That money is going to be spent. People who are on unemployment are stretched to the limit, and they spend those dollars in the private sector on goods and services. So that will create jobs in the private sector.
Nevertheless, Bolling was not impressed:
BOLLING: Had you told me that some of the tax credits, or the payroll tax holidays were a good thing, I probably would have agreed with you, but when you tell me that another entitlement program -- allowing someone to stay out of work for longer -- and you tell me that's a job creator, I'm just going to have to disagree with you.
Come again? Unemployment insurance and tax credits for COBRA coverage allow people to remain out of work longer?
Bolling's criticism does not just argue in favor of tax cuts over spending to stimulate the economy; it betrays a worldview where the 9.7-percent unemployment rate includes a mass of workers living the high life of unemployment.
How does Bolling's construct account for the fact that only 6 percent of those in the unemployed population are voluntary job leavers -- a figure that's actually down in the past year -- compared to 62 percent who are on temporary or permanent layoff? What share of the 9.3 million workers who are on temporary or permanent involuntary unemployment does Bolling suppose choose to remain so because they simply can't pass up the lucrative windfall offered through unemployment benefits?
Bolling's criticism of extending unemployment benefits does more than expose an apparent preference for tax cuts over spending to stimulate economic growth and combat unemployment; it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the problem.
From the February 11 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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From the February 5 broadcast of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
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From the February 5 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:
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Red State's Erick Erickson has uncovered what he thinks is a shocking admission in President Obama's 2011 budget: that "the White House is now admitting" that funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being distributed over the course of two years. Erickson has also determined their purpose. From Red State:
Washington was "unwilling to solve" the problems because 2009 was not an election year and 2010 is. The President of the United States refused to help get unemployment down in 2009 by design so he could get credit in the 2010 election year instead.
You can't blame Erickson for jumping to this conclusion. Who wouldn't accuse the President of prolonging economic hardships in order to rig elections when no other justifiable reason has been presented?
Except Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag discussed exactly this last July:
In designing the Recovery Act, we also recognized that the economic situation we inherited was so severe that we needed to assure producers and consumers that aggregate demand would be boosted not just for a few months, but for a sustained period. That is why we envisioned a Recovery Act that would ramp up rapidly in 2009, have its peak impact in 2010, and lay the groundwork for further growth thereafter.
And in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office illustrated the fact that the stimulus money was designed to be distributed over two years:
Combining the spending and revenue effects of H.R. 1, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase federal budget deficits by $169 billion over the remaining months of fiscal year 2009, by $356 billion in 2010, by $174 billion in 2011, and by $816 billion over the 2009-2019 period.
CBO and JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate that enacting H.R. 1 would increase budget deficits by $526 billion over the 2009-2010 period (about 19 months) and by a total of $816 billion over the 2009-2019 period.
And, as Vice President Joe Biden wrote in a July, 2009 New York Times op-ed:
The care with which we are carrying out the provisions of the Recovery Act has led some people to ask whether we are moving too slowly. But the act was intended to provide steady support for our economy over an extended period - not a jolt that would last only a few months. Instead of quick-hit rebates, we are giving Americans a tax cut in each paycheck. Instead of pumping out all the state aid immediately, we are spreading it over the two years that it will be needed. Road projects, energy projects and construction projects are being started as soon as they pass review, contracts are competitively bid and reporting systems are in place.
Fox & Friends hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Alisyn Camerota seized on a recent Recovery.gov jobs report to falsely claim that the stimulus funded 600,000 jobs, which Fox & Friends then attacked as being inconsistent with other Obama administration officials' estimates of jobs having been saved due to the stimulus. But that 600,000 jobs figure is reportedly only for the jobs funded by the stimulus in the fourth quarter of 2009; the White House still estimates that the stimulus' overall impact has been about 2 million jobs funded, and that number is in line with other economists' estimates.
New York Post columnist Rich Lowry claimed that President Obama's 2 million job estimate of the impact of the recovery act is "from an outfit that has every incentive to make the numbers look as cheery as possible," when in fact that estimate falls within the range given by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Lowry also purported to correct Obama's statement about the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC, but four Supreme Court justices and other legal experts have said the impact of the ruling is uncertain.
A Washington Times article repeated congressional Republicans' criticisms of the Council of Economic Advisers' estimate that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created up to 2 million jobs, reporting that "Republicans say the numbers simply don't wash." Despite noting that "[t]he government counts stimulus jobs in several ways," the article made no mention that the White House estimate is "within the range of other projections," including estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
On the January 11 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh falsely distorted an Associated Press analysis of road and bridge construction to advance the falsehood that stimulus spending has had no effect on job creation. In fact, the AP analysis reported that the stimulus "has produced some jobs" and that AP "did not try to measure results of the broader aid that also was in the first stimulus"; moreover the Congressional Budget Office found that the stimulus created up to 1.6 million jobs.