Last night on Fox News, host Greta Van Susteren asked House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) if it’s “fair” to say that President Obama “owns the trend of the economy since February ’09.” “I do believe that,” Boehner said, throwing in his tired talking point that the Recovery Act has not worked:
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Are there any indicators from the stimulus bill that it’s working?
BOEHNER: None that I can see. Now, we’ve never said that it wouldn’t create one job. When you spend $800 billion, somebody’s going to get a job out of it. But it certainly has not created the kind of environment where the economy’s beginning to move and employers are beginning to hire.
But since the stimulus passed last year, Republicans rushed to pronounce it a failure. And even Boehner himself has said that it won’t create any jobs. “All they want to do is grow the size of government. Government doesn’t create jobs!” Boehner complained talking about the Recovery Act. Just days before Congress passed the stimulus bill, Boehner refused to give it a chance. “When it comes to slow-moving government spending programs, it’s clear that it doesn’t create the jobs,” he said.
Other Republicans have been more explicit. “The last stimulus bill didn’t create one new job,” Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) said. “We find his claim Pants on Fire!” PolitiFact.com said of Brown’s statement.
While Boehner has been all over the map on whether government can create jobs, the reality is that the stimulus has boosted employment in the U.S. The Congressional Budget Office said in May that as of the end of the first quarter of 2010 the Recovery Act has “[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million,” raised inflation adjusted GDP “by between 1.7 percent and 4.2 percent,” and lowered the unemployment rate. So there have been positive trends in terms of the unemployment rate and GDP growth since Obama took office, and according to Boehner, the President “owns” that trend: