Republicans continue to rail against the stimulus, even though economists agree that the program has created a significant number of jobs. Last week, the White House Council of Economic Advisers said the Recovery Act has saved or created 3.6 million jobs. A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) also found that the stimulus “has increased the number of workers by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million” and projects that “3.7 million jobs could be attributed to the stimulus by the end of September.”
Today, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace presented Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) with the CBO number and asked him how he could still say that the Recovery Act has “failed” in the face of this nonpartisan evidence:
WALLACE: These are numbers from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It estimates the stimulus has boosted growth between 1.7 and 4.2 percent, and it’s increased the number of people unemployed by 2-2.8 million. Congressman Pence, is that failure?
PENCE: Look, the reality is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that is that part of our government that tracks the economy when people are hired and fired, says that since the stimulus was passed, we’ve lost 3 million jobs overall. About 2.5 million jobs net. The reality is unemployment today over 14 million Americans are unemployed; that’s exactly what it was a year ago. The American people know. We can’t borrow and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy.
WALLACE: But what about the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office just in effect saying, it would have been worse, and the fact is that it has boosted growth, it has gotten millions of people employed?
PENCE: Well, our economy is beginning to grow in a tepid way on the margins, I would argue in spite of the prescriptions of the physicians in Washington, DC. The American people know what’s necessary to get this economy moving again. It’s fiscal discipline in Washington, DC, and across-the-board tax relief for working families, small businesses, and family farms.
Basically, Pence seems to be saying that because unemployment hasn’t been completely eradicated, the stimulus must be a failure. But it’s important to remember the hole the country had to dig itself out of from the Bush administration, and the fact that unemployment would be even higher without the stimulus:
Many Republicans continue to go around and pretend that the stimulus hasn’t created any new jobs, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Last week, ThinkProgress attended a job fair hosted by Rep. Eric Cantor where the businesses in attendance had received more than $52 million in federal stimulus funds. Other Republicans who voted against the stimulus have similarly had no problem taking credit for its success.