Despite Jobs Report, Conservatives Still ‘Ready To Declare The Economic Stimulus Plan A Failure’

Earlier today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released data showing that the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 9.4 percent in July, and “businesses cut a much-less-severe 247,000 jobs from their payrolls.” As the New York Times’ David Leonhardt notes, “given what was expected,” the jobs report is “very good news.”

Though the New York Times reports today that an analysis of the stimulus plan offered by economists “suggests that the punch from increased government spending has helped the economy begin to bottom out faster than it would have otherwise,” some conservatives are using today’s jobs report to claim that President Obama’s plan failed. “Today’s unemployment report is yet another reminder that more spending, taxing, and borrowing does not mean more jobs for the American people,” said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). “Instead of rewriting history on their ‘stimulus’ promises, Washington Democrats should abandon their job-killing agenda.”

Boehner’s number two, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), released a similar statement saying that “jobs lost undermines administration claims of stimulus success.” On Fox News this morning, the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore said that, despite the report, he is “ready to declare the economic stimulus plan a failure.” Watch it:

As the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo points out, while this is by no means a “good” report overall, “declaring the stimulus a failure at this junction is to ignore the effect that it has already had.” “The signs of the stimulus are there,” Allen L. Sinai, chief economist at Decision Economics, told the New York Times. “Government — federal, state and local — is helping take the economy from recession to recovery. I think it’s the primary contributor.” This graph, from a report by the Council of Economic Advisers, shows the impact on job loss that the stimulus has had:


Garofalo concludes that “to be sure, the economy is still in a very weak state, and it remains the case that finding a new job is extremely challenging for those who have lost theirs. But that’s precisely why the stimulus dollars need to keep flowing into the economy, boosting demand and stimulating spending as the economy starts to slowly turn around.”


On Dennis Miller’s radio show today, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), declared, “that stimulus bill, so-called stimulus bill that despite the fact that unemployment, you know, dropped a little tiny bit today, it’s still at historic levels. You know, the stimulus bill isn’t working.”