Fox News' Van Susteren did not challenge Kyl's false stimulus math

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Fox News' Greta Van Susteren did not challenge Sen. Jon Kyl's false claim that the economic recovery plan is "going to be wasting an awful lot of money, putting permanent programs in place that over a 10-year period ... are going to spend $3.27 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office." Kyl's assertion echoed the false claim in a Washington Times editorial that CBO estimated that the full cost of the bill would reach $3.2 trillion by 2019. In fact, more than half of the $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill, which the bill does not do.

During the February 18 edition of Fox News' On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren did not challenge Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) false claim that the economic recovery plan, which President Obama just signed into law, is "going to be wasting an awful lot of money, putting permanent programs in place that over a 10-year period ... are going to spend $3.27 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office." Kyl added, "[S]o permanent programs, a lot of money." Kyl's assertion echoed the false claim in the February 17 Washington Times that CBO estimated that the full cost of the bill would reach $3.2 trillion by 2019. In fact, more than half of the $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill, which the bill does not do, contrary to Kyl's claim. CBO did not include those costs in its cost estimate of the bill; rather, in a letter to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who requested that CBO estimate the cost of permanently extending those provisions, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf noted: "As specified in H.R. 1 as passed, those provisions would either explicitly expire or would specify appropriations only for a limited number of years (usually 2009 and 2010)."

As Media Matters for America documented, the CBO has estimated that the recovery bill as passed by Congress will cost $787,242,000. In addition to including approximately $1.7 trillion to permanently extend programs that the recovery bill does not authorize to be extended, the $3.2 trillion figure cited by the Times also includes $745 billion in interest costs, which, according to Elmendorf's letter to Ryan, are not included in CBO scorekeeping.

From the February 18 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there's so many things going on in terms of programs coming out of Washington right now that, you know, we Americans are just sort of, like -- it's, like, going over our heads. We just hear these incredible numbers, and we don't -- we know we don't have the money. We're all hoping that it's the right solution, but if nobody even bothered to read the bill that everybody voted on, that's rather terrifying because we can't even tell if it's a good idea or not. But we send people to Washington to make these decision for us, and we find out that they're just basically rolling dice. It's terrifying, Senator.

KYL: Well, and it's a -- in that case, it's a trillion-dollar gamble. Now, again, our staff was able to point out a lot of things in this legislation that were not good. And we talked about those things. But at the end of the day, spending a trillion dollars, you want to get it right. This was not targeted legislation. To the extent it stimulates anything, it's going to be luck, rather than careful, careful planning. And it's going to be wasting an awful lot of money, putting permanent programs in place that over a 10-year period, Greta, are going to spend $3.27 trillion, according to the Congressional Budget Office -- so, permanent programs, a lot of money.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I'm just hoping that my fears are all completely off the mark and that -- you know, that this -- that this is going to work, but we'll have to see. Senator, thank you.

KYL: Thank you, Greta.

Posted In
Economy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Greta Van Susteren
Show/Publication
On The Record with Greta Van Susteren
Stories/Interests
Economic Recovery Plan
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