Fox & Friends Ignores Stimulus' Effect To Claim None Of Obama's Economic Policies Have “Worked”

On Fox & Friends, Stuart Varney attacked President Obama's economic policies, claiming that he couldn't “think of anything” Obama has done to improve the economy “that has worked.” But economists agree that the stimulus significantly boosted GDP and employment.

Varney “Can't Think Of Anything” In Obama's Economic Policy “That Has Worked”

Varney: “Frankly, I Can't Think Of Anything” Obama Has Done On The Economy “That Has Worked.” On the June 13 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox Business host Stuart Varney claimed that he couldn't “think of anything” Obama has done that “has worked” to improve the economy. From Fox & Friends:

GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): [S]ome would say, point to one thing about the Obama economic policy that actually you think has worked.

VARNEY: And what would that be, Gretchen?

CARLSON: That's why I'm asking you.

VARNEY: You're asking me what has worked?

CARLSON: Is there anything in it that has worked?

VARNEY: Frankly, I can't think of anything.

STEVE DOOCY (co-host): OK, great.

VARNEY: Sorry.

CARLSON: So one thing that Austan Goolsbee says is not working was, he went back in time to say that the Bush tax cuts were the problem.

VARNEY: OK. How about the jobs policy? Has that worked? The stimulus plan? Close to $1 trillion. Two record budgets, an increase of 25 percent in federal spending, has that worked to create jobs? I say no. The housing problem. We spent $175 billion bailing out Fannie [Mae] and Freddie [Mac], with another couple hundred billion to come. Has that worked? No. And now we have the foremost authority on housing, Robert Shiller, he of Case-Shiller fame, he says, wait a minute, he would not be surprised in home prices dropped another 10, maybe 25 percent. And in the [New York] Times this weekend, Shiller says it's going to be terrible for real estate for years to come. Hardly a successful policy from the Obama administration. Or am I coming on a bit too strong on a Monday morning?

DOOCY: Well, just truthful. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/13/11, via Media Matters]

In Fact, Economists Agree Stimulus Has Raised GDP And Employment

CBO: Stimulus Has Raised Employment By 1.4-3.6 Million. A November 2010 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that as of the third quarter of 2010, the stimulus lowered the unemployment rate “by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,” compared to what would have happened in the absence of the stimulus. From the report:

CBO estimates that ARRA's policies had the following effects in the third quarter of calendar year 2010:

  • They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.4 and 4.1 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 2.0 million to 5.2 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise (see Table 1). (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [Congressional Budget Office, November 2010]

Private Analysts Estimate That Stimulus Increased GDP By 2.1 To 3.5 Percent. In its fifth quarterly report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the president's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimated that the stimulus “has raised the level of GDP as of the third quarter of 2010, relative to what it otherwise would have been, by 2.7 percent.” CEA also provided a chart showing that private analysts estimate that the stimulus boosted GDP between 2.1 and 3.5 percent:


[Council of Economic Advisers, 11/18/10]

Private Analysts Estimate That Stimulus Increased Employment By 2.1 To 2.5 Million. In its report, the CEA provided the following chart showing that private forecasters estimate that as of the third quarter of 2010, the stimulus increased employment between 2.1 and 2.5 million:

CEA jobs

[Council of Economic Advisers, 11/18/10]

WSJ: Economists Say Economic Recovery Has Been Driven By Stimulus. The Wall Street Journal reported on January 14:

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal are increasingly optimistic about the pace of the recovery, predicting the U.S. will grow at better than a 3.2% annual rate in each quarter this year.

“The U.S. economy appears to have successfully navigated the adjustment from a recovery driven primarily from economic stimulus and inventory rebuilding to one driven by private domestic demand and rising exports,” said economists at Wells Fargo & Co. “Three percent growth looks pretty good, particularly with housing stuck in low gear.” [The Wall Street Journal, 1/14/11]