Few outlets have done more than Fox News to perpetuate the bizarre claim that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — popularly known as the stimulus — failed to help the economy or struggling American families. But this afternoon, both the network and anchor Trace Gallagher inadvertently wandered off the anti-stimulus script.
During a segment ostensibly aimed at debunking a video released by the California Teachers Union, which criticized the nation’s wealthy citizens by claiming they sucked up the majority of the assistance the government passed in response to the recession, Gallagher and the Fox News art team unloaded a barrage of ways the stimulus brought aid to lower and middle-class Americans at a critical time:
GALLAGHER: Of course, they failed to point out that of the $787 billion stimulus, more than $105 billion went toward education, $20 billion toward food stamps, $39 billion plus went to extending unemployment insurance benefits, and $25 billion went to extending health benefits for the unemployed. In fact that lion’s share of the stimulus went to those in lower and middle-class families.
The current economic consensus as expressed by the Congressional Budget Office holds that these sorts of programs aimed at assisting Americans lower down the economic ladder — especially food stamps and unemployment benefits — produce more job growth per dollar than any other form of government spending or tax cuts. There’s plenty of evidence that the stimulus gave a pronounced boost to the economy, helping to put a floor under the economic recession. The bulk of the studies and economic models done on the topic have come to the same conclusion.