Right-Wing Media Use Benign Comment About Regulatory Reform To Call Millions Of Jobs A Waste Of Money

Media conservatives have found yet another excuse to push the myth that President Obama's economic policies have failed to increase employment, this time pointing to Obama's unremarkable observation that eliminating unnecessary regulations might speed up business activity and help create jobs. Economists have said that Obama's economic policies have boosted employment and raised gross domestic product.

After Obama Made The Straightforward Observation That Eliminating Unnecessary Regulations Might Speed Up Jobs Creation ...

Obama Touted “Full-Scale Regulatory Review” To Help “Make Sure That These Regulations Are Serving A Purpose And That The Benefits Exceed The Cost.” Addressing the White House Jobs and Competitiveness Council, Obama discussed an administration initiative to review business regulations and streamline the regulatory structure:

The other thing that we had heard in the last meeting was the question of regulation and regulatory uncertainty. And I took this very much to heart. As I've said before, I'm a big believer that it's important for us to have core regulations that help protect consumers from being taken advantage of, that protect our air and water. I think everybody here around this table recognizes that having a smart regulatory structure can actually enhance market competitiveness. But it's also important to make sure that these regulations are serving a purpose and that the benefits exceed the cost.

So what we've done is to initiate a full-scale regulatory review not just of pending regulations but actually looking back for the first time at all existing regulations. And I have to tell you, I just did an address on this where I was sitting next to a stack of Federal Registers where all the regulations exist, and it was a pretty high stack. And it was a reminder that every so often Washington passes laws but doesn't do what every business around the table does, which is to look back and see, did what we do in the past still make sense in the current operating environment?

Cass Sunstein has been leading this process and we released an initial report where we've got scores of regulations that we are prepared to eliminate because they no longer apply to current situations. We think it is going to be able to save billions of dollars for businesses, just in terms of compliance costs, over the next several years. [President Obama's comments to the Jobs and Competitiveness Council, 6/13/11, via WhiteHouse.gov]

Obama: “Shovel Ready Was Not As Shovel Ready As We Expected.” During a meeting with the White House Jobs and Competitiveness Council, a participant discussed the impact that the process of obtaining permits can have on creating jobs, saying: “I'm sure that when you implemented the recovery act, your staff briefed you on many of the challenges of the permitting process and the impact on putting Americans back to work.” Obama responded:

Shovel ready was not as shovel ready as we expected. [Meeting of the White House Jobs and Competitiveness Council, 6/13/11, via FoxNation]

... Right-Wing Media Claimed He Was “Joking” About His “Economic Failures” And “Wasting $850 Billion”

Ace Of Spades: “Obama Tries New Tack With Economic Disaster Of His Creation: Droll Humor.” In a June 13 post on Ace of Spades, blogger Ace wrote:

First, a flashback. Obama's been in shovel-ready trouble with shovel-ready jobs for some time.

This incompetent naif admitted, back in October 2010, right before the elections (thanks, dude!), he wasn't lying when he claimed the stimulus would pay for “shovel-ready” projects.

He was just too ignorant to know they didn't really exist.


Some errors are trivial and may be laughed off. Some are serious and cannot be laughed off.

An economy on the brink of depression? Due to the incompetent flailings of narcissitic [sic] dilettante?

Not seeing the joke here, dude. [Ace of Spades, 6/13/11]

HotAir: “Tee Hee: Obama Now Joking About His Own Giant Economic Failures.” In a June 13 post on Hot Air, blogger Allahpundit wrote:

[R]emember how angry we all were when he admitted that “shovel-ready” public works projects -- the ostensible target of the stimulus -- um, don't really exist? The Democrats spent weeks before he was inaugurated selling voters on the concept and did a good enough job that they ended up with a $787 billion check from Congress for their trouble. [HotAir, 6/13/11]

Bolling: “Obama Laughs About Wasting $850 Billion.” Commenting on Obama's North Carolina speech, Fox Business host Eric Bolling tweeted on April 14:

Bolling Tweet

The tweet linked to a post Bolling wrote on Facebook that read, “Tonight: Obama laughs about wasting $850 billion then tells NBC It's the media not Americans that have a problem with my attitude about unemployment.” [Twitter, 6/14/11; Facebook, 6/14/11]

Breitbart.tv: “Obama Thinks It's Hilarious That His Trillion Dollar Stimulus Did Nothing To Fix Unemployment.” In a June 14 post, Breitbart.tv posted video of Obama speaking in North Carolina under the headline, “Obama thinks it's hilarious that his trillion dollar stimulus did nothing to fix unemployment.” Underneath the video was the caption, “Watch President Obama enjoy a laugh over the failure of his 'shovel-ready' jobs program.” [Breitbart.tv, 6/14/11]

Doocy: “Shovel-Ready Projects Not So Shovel-Ready; Stimulus, It Wasn't Very Stimulating.” On the June 15 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, responding to GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich's remarks about Obama's comments, co-host Steve Doocy said, “Well, shovel-ready projects not so shovel ready; stimulus, it wasn't very stimulating.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/15/11]

Even As Economists Say That Obama's Policies Have Boosted Employment And Raised GDP

CBO: Economic Stimulus Added Millions Of Jobs To The Economy In First Quarter Of 2011. A May 2011 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) lowered the unemployment rate “by between 0.6 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points,” and "[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 3.3 million" in the first quarter of 2011. [Congressional Budget Office, May 2011]

CBO: Economic Stimulus Raised GDP In The First Quarter Of 2011. A May 2011 CBO report estimated that the recovery act “raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.1 percent and 3.1 percent” in the first quarter of 2011. [Congressional Budget Office, May 2011]

Independent And Private Analysts: Stimulus Significantly Raised Employment. In its sixth quarterly report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the White House Council of Economic Advisors cited several economic estimates that concluded that the stimulus increased gross domestic product and lowered unemployment:

wh chart

[White House Council of Economic Advisors, 3/18/11]