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Pawlenty Falsely Claims ‘Most Credible Economists Say’ Stimulus Is ‘Not Working’

By Ben Armbruster  

"Pawlenty Falsely Claims ‘Most Credible Economists Say’ Stimulus Is ‘Not Working’"

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Last night on Fox News, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) attacked President Obama’s reported proposal to freeze “non-security” discretionary spending at the FY2011 level for fiscal years 2012 and 2013. “If you want to get this country back on track,” Pawlenty said, “Don’t freeze spending, cut it. Don’t raise taxes, cut them.”

Pawlenty then offered some “great ideas” for solving the nation’s economic woes: “Allow the [Bush] tax cuts to stay in place permanently.” He said the U.S. needs more tax cuts because economists say the stimulus isn’t working:

PAWLENTY: Yes, it’s not working. It’s mostly sending money out to bureaucracies. It’s not effective. They promised that if you pass the stimulus bill, we’d have unemployment at 8 percent or lower. It’s up at 10 percent. I think most credible economists say it’s not working. So we can redeploy that money by drawing down the deficits or through tax cuts, things that would more quickly and better ignite the economy.

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Pawlenty didn’t cite any specific economists or reports to back up his claim. But USA Today reported this week that according to a new survey of economists, the stimulus has had a positive impact on unemployment:

Unemployment would have hit 10.8% — higher than December’s 10% rate — without Obama’s $787 billion stimulus program, according to the economists’ median estimate. The difference would translate into another 1.2 million lost jobs. But almost two-thirds of the economists said the government should do more to spur job growth.

Moreover, as the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo noted, “economists have consistently found that the stimulus package is working exactly as it should, and that it is simply too small to counteract the economic crisis.”

Even economists at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute said that the stimulus boosted the U.S. economy by 4 percent.

Pawlenty also offered no plan as to how he would pay for extending the Bush tax cuts, which “not only continue to cost the government but have also increased interest payments on the national debt” and “will send the deficit higher.” In fact, the Bush tax cuts have delivered $715 billion to the wealthiest one percent over the last decade and this year alone, millionaires will get more in tax breaks than 90 percent of Americans will earn in income.

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