Right-wing media respond to Obama's jobs plan by rehashing tired stimulus falsehoods

The right-wing media responded to Obama's new six-year jobs plan by rehashing the tired falsehood that the 2009 stimulus “failed.” In fact, the stimulus has been estimated by both the White House and independent analysts to have increased employment by about 2 million jobs relative to a baseline estimate of what jobs levels would have been without the stimulus.

Right-wing media: Obama's new jobs plan is the “same failed and expensive Keynesianism that he tried in February 2009”

Morrissey: Obama's jobs plan “same failed and expensive Keynesianism that he tried in February 2009.” In a September 6 Hot Air post, right-wing blogger Ed Morrissey falsely claimed that the stimulus bill of 2009 was a “failed policy” while discussing Obama's new jobs proposal:

What happens when over a hundred billion dollars in borrowed cash gets plunged into infrastructure spending and it fails to kick-start the economy? According to this administration, spend another $50 billion on the same failed policy. Barack Obama will unveil his new economic stimulus plan in Wisconsin today, while Russ Feingold looks for a place to hide:


In this election cycle, pork may be all Democrats can use as an argument for re-election. They certainly larded the first stimulus bill with plenty of home-town pork, and with $50 billion more in borrowed cash, don't expect them to be shy the second time around.

However, don't expect it to work, either. The original Porkulus had $105 billion in so-called “infrastructure investments,” and none of it produced any economic growth. Transportation accounted for $48 billion; energy infrastructure and R&D got the same amount of money. Housing got $10 billion. Front loaded or not, the money got allocated and borrowed, and we're back to flatlining economic growth just eighteen months later -- only now we have a lot more debt on top of the other problems we had.


Update: Commenter PattyJ wonders if anyone actually saw “infrastructure” being built from the original Porkulus. Sure, I did; I did a couple of driving trips through Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Missouri over the past year and saw plenty of ARRA signs on road construction projects. One local project closed an important freeway interchange for two months when it didn't even have surface issues to repair. Most of them were just accelerated wish-list projects that were not needed and didn't produce any lasting jobs at all. That was certainly the case for that remodeled interchange.

Krauthammer on Obama's six-year economic plan: "[E]ven Lenin had the modesty to stop at five." On the September 6 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier, Charles Krauthammer remarked on Obama's six-year plan that “even Lenin had the modesty to stop at five.” From Special Report:

KRAUTHAMMER: This is a classic example of an administration acting for the appearance of activity. It doesn't have a clue what to do. It just threw a half a trillion dollars on the first stimulus. As we saw earlier in the show, almost 60% of Americans think it did absolutely nothing. And they have no ideas. The economy is still in a ditch, so they come up with a mini version of this, which will be throwing $50 billion, it will not leave a trace unlike the interstate highway system, TVA, or the Hoover Dam, which were real infrastructure ideas. This will not leave, absolutely nothing will be left behind. And it is going to be a very temporary fix.

I like the way the president announces we hear this is going to be a six-year plan. Even Lenin had the modesty to stop at five.

Varney on stimulus plan: “It hasn't worked.” On the September 7 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Stuart Varney again falsely claims that the 2009 stimulus “hasn't worked.” Varney declared that Obama's infrastructure investment plan is “a stimulus for the unions,” and he later added:

VARNEY: You had stimulus plan number one, a great big one,18 months ago. Now you got stimulus plan number two. It's all about government spending. Take it from this group, spend it on that group, and it hasn't worked. The public knows. It's alienated individuals.

Independent and private analysts agree stimulus significantly raised employment over what would have happened otherwise

CEA: ARRA raised employment “by between 2.2 and 2.8 million.” In its third quarterly report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA] of 2009, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) stated: “The CEA estimates that as of the first quarter of 2010, the ARRA has raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by between 2.2 and 2.8 million. These estimates are similar to those of other analysts, and are broadly consistent with the direct recipient reporting data available for 2009:Q4.”

CBO estimates job impact of between 1.2 and 2.7 million. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in February that as of the fourth quarter of 2009, “ARRA added between 1.0 million and 2.1 million to the number of workers employed in the United States.” The CEA report stated that CBO estimates that as of the first quarter of 2010, the Recovery Act raised employment by between 1.2 and 2.7 million.

IHS/Global Insight estimates job impact of 1.7 million. PolitiFact.com stated on February 17 that "[u]sing updated estimates provided to PolitiFact, IHS/Global Insight estimates that 1.7 million jobs will be created or saved by the first quarter of 2010." The CEA report also cites this estimate from IHS/Global Insight.

Moody's economy.com estimates job impact of 1.9 million. The PolitiFact post further stated that "[u]sing updated estimates provided to PolitiFact ... Moody's economy.com estimated that 1.9 million jobs will be created or saved" by the first quarter of 2010. The CEA report also cited this estimate from Moody's economy.com.

Macroeconomic Advisers estimates job impact of 1.5 million. The CEA report stated that Macroeconomic Advisers estimates that the Recovery Act raised employment by 1.46 million as of the first quarter of 2010, citing an analysis provided to CEA.

Administration's estimate of stimulus job impact calculated from “the no-stimulus baseline.” In a January 9, 2009, report on the job impact of a “prototypical” stimulus package “in the range that the President-Elect has discussed,” Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein estimated that a stimulus package would raise employment by between “3.3 to 4.1 million jobs” by the end of 2010. The report clearly notes that this estimate is calculated “relative to the no-stimulus baseline.”