What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 1, 2010

Toomey Fact-Checked On The Stimulus

But not by me.

This has been bouncing around various places for a while. There are two separate frames here, one general and one specific. Both are from Factcheck.org. First the general. Regarding the "Stimulus Package" and the GOP's response to it. Here's the set-up:
The economic stimulus package is a favorite target of Republican candidates and groups, but more than a few ads falsely claim it did not create or save any jobs.
And here's their analysis:
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly known as the stimulus bill, has been featured in more than 130 TV ads this year, according to a database maintained by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. In many of those ads, Republicans claim the bill has "failed" (a matter of opinion) or state (correctly) that unemployment has gone up since President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on Feb. 17, 2009. The national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in February 2009, and it now stands at 9.6 percent, having peaked at 10.1 percent in October 2009.

But it’s just false to say that the stimulus created "no jobs" or "failed to save and create jobs" or "has done nothing to reduce unemployment" – or similar claims that the stimulus did not produce any jobs.

As we have written before, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report in August that said the stimulus bill has "[l]owered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points" and "[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million."

Simply put, more people would be unemployed if not for the stimulus bill. The exact number of jobs created and saved is difficult to estimate, but nonpartisan economists say there’s no doubt that the number is positive.
I know I've written about this before, too.

So whenever we hear some otherwise well meaning conservative state that the stimulus "failed to create jobs", we know that they're just wrong.

Now the specific. Last August, Factcheck.org fact-checked Toomey on this very issue. Take a look:
The ad, which was released Aug. 10, criticizes Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak for a number of his votes that prove, the ad claims, "Washington is failing." It says: "Bailouts, takeovers, a stimulus that gave us record debt without creating jobs. Congressman Joe Sestak voted for all of it." Sestak did vote for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — more commonly known as the stimulus bill — which at first was expected to cost $787 billion, but now has risen to an estimated $862 billion. But it is wrong to say it "gave us record debt without creating jobs."

Let’s take the easy one first: jobs. There has been some debate over the exact number of jobs that have been created by the stimulus bill, as we have noted in the past, but there is no question that it has created and saved jobs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that through March 2010, the stimulus bill was responsible for the employment of between 1.2 million and 2.8 million people. The CBO said the stimulus had lowered the national unemployment rate "by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points."
And then they summarize:
Toomey would be on safe ground if he said the stimulus added to the debt without creating enough jobs — those would be his opinions, and defensible ones at that. But he can’t say it didn’t create any jobs and caused a record debt. [emphasis added.]
Pat Toomey: wrong about the stimulus package. Thus spake factcheck.org.

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