Ad Check: Sharron Angle Is Not In "Love" With The Facts

August 26, 2010 6:15 pm ET

Sharron Angle has released a new campaign ad, titled "Love Triangle," attacking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama.  The ad blames the Democrats for the bank bailout, claims the Recovery Act "failed," and suggests that progressive economic policies are responsible for "record deficits and skyrocketing unemployment." In reality, the bailout, deficits and job losses date back to the Bush administration, and the Recovery Act has improved the dismal economic situation that was created by Republicans.

Sharron Angle: "Love Triangle"

It may be the most tragic love story of all time. Pelosi, Obama, and Harry Reid. Together, they promised to change America. And boy did they. Taxpayer funded bailouts for Wall Street. A $787 billion stimulus that failed. And spending so reckless it's led to record deficits and skyrocketing unemployment. [Sharron Angle: "Love Triangle" via YouTube, 8/26/10]

President Bush Created Those "Taxpayer Funded Bailouts"

Congress Passed Bailout "After Dire Warnings From The Bush Administration."  According to the Washington Post: "Congress created the Troubled Asset Relief Program after dire warnings from the Bush administration that panic had seized credit markets and that the global economy was on the verge of meltdown. Barely two weeks later, Congress rushed through a measure giving Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. sweeping authority to spend up to $700 billion to inject cash into troubled financial institutions and buy 'toxic' assets such as those backed by failing mortgages." [Washington Post, 1/13/09]

Bush Administration Urged Passage Of Bank Bailout.  As ABC News reported: "The architects of the Bush administration's massive $700 billion bailout for financial firms went to Capitol Hill today to urge lawmakers to act quickly and pass the bill 'cleanly' or risk a recession.  Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Senate Banking Committee that failing to pass the administration's big-money bailout for the financial industry would stifle consumer spending, bring more home foreclosures and cause job loss." [ABC News, 9/23/08]

President Bush: America Might "Slip Into A Major Panic" Without Bailout.  CNN reported:

U.S. President George W. Bush, saying "our entire economy is in danger," urged Congress to approve his administration's $700 billion bailout proposal.

"We're in the midst of a serious financial crisis, and the federal government is responding with decisive actions," Bush said in a televised address Wednesday night from the White House.

Bush pointed out that the collapse of several major lenders was rooted in the subprime mortgage market that thrived over the past decade.

He said passage of the $700 billion bailout proposal was needed to restore confidence in the market.

"I'm a strong believer in free enterprise, so my natural instinct is to oppose government intervention," he said. But "these are not normal circumstances. The market is not functioning properly. There has been a widespread loss of confidence.

"Without immediate action by Congress, America can slip into a major panic." [CNN, 9/24/08]

The Recovery Act Boosted The Economy

CBO: The Recovery Act Created Jobs, Lowered Unemployment, And Boosted GDP.  According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, through the second quarter of 2010, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

  • Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 4.8 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise. [CBO, 8/24/10]

Reuters: The Recovery Act May Have "Prevented The Sluggish Economy From Contracting" Between April And June.  According to Reuters

The massive U.S. stimulus package put millions of people to work and boosted national output by hundreds of billions of dollars in the second quarter, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday.

CBO's latest estimate indicates that the stimulus effort, which remains a political hot potato ahead of the November congressional elections, may have prevented the sluggish U.S. economy from contracting between April and June.

CBO said President Barack Obama's stimulus boosted real GDP in the quarter by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent, adding at least $200 billion in economic activity. [Reuters via ABC News, 8/24/10]

Job Statistics Trend Shows Recovery Act Is Working.  Below is a graph prepared by the Speaker's office showing net private sector job gains or losses per month since December 2007.

[Bureau of Labor Statistics via The Gavel, 8/6/10]

Princeton, Moody's Economists Say "Highly Effective" Government Response To Crisis Saved 8.5 Million Jobs.  According to the New York Times: "Like a mantra, officials from both the Bush and Obama administrations have trumpeted how the government's sweeping interventions to prop up the economy since 2008 helped avert a second Depression. Now, two leading economists wielding complex quantitative models say that assertion can be empirically proved. In a new paper, the economists argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration's fiscal stimulus program, the nation's gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year. In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; and the economy would be experiencing deflation, instead of low inflation. The paper, by Alan S. Blinder, a Princeton professor and former vice chairman of the Fed, and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, represents a first stab at comprehensively estimating the effects of the economic policy responses of the last few years. 'While the effectiveness of any individual element certainly can be debated, there is little doubt that in total, the policy response was highly effective,' they write." [New York Times, 7/27/10, emphasis added]

The Deficit Is Fueled By Bush Policies And The Recession

Before Obama Took Office, The FY 2009 Deficit Was Projected At $1.2 Trillion.  As reported by the Washington Times: "The Congressional Budget Office announced a projected fiscal 2009 deficit of $1.2 trillion even if Congress doesn't enact any new programs. [...] About the only person who was silent on the deficit projection was Mr. Bush, who took office facing a surplus but who saw spending balloon and the country notch the highest deficits on record." [Washington Times, 1/8/09, emphasis added]

CBPP 2005: Tax Cuts Are Half Of The $539 Billion Increase In Deficits Since 2001.  Below is a chart from the Center on Budget Policy Priorities (CBPP) using Congressional Budget Office numbers to trace the origins of the deficit:

[CBPP.org, 1/31/05]

The Bush Tax Cuts Are The Primary Driver Of Federal Budget Deficits Over The Next Decade. Below is a chart from CBPP showing the deficit impacts of war spending, financial recovery spending, the recession itself, and the Bush tax cuts:

[CBPP.org, 6/28/10]

"Skyrocketing Unemployment" Is A Bush Legacy, Too

The Economy Shed Almost 8 Million Jobs Under Republican Policies Before The Recovery Act Was Passed.  According to economist Robert J. Shapiro:

From December 2007 to July 2009 - the last year of the Bush second term and the first six months of the Obama presidency, before his policies could affect the economy - private sector employment crashed from 115,574,000 jobs to 107,778,000 jobs. Employment continued to fall, however, for the next six months, reaching a low of 107,107,000 jobs in December of 2009. So, out of 8,467,000 private sector jobs lost in this dismal cycle, 7,796,000 of those jobs or 92 percent were lost on the Republicans' watch or under the sway of their policies. Some 671,000 additional jobs were lost as the stimulus and other moves by the administration kicked in, but 630,000 jobs then came back in the following six months. The tally, to date: Mr. Obama can be held accountable for the net loss of 41,000 jobs (671,000 - 630,000), while the Republicans should be held responsible for the net losses of 7,796,000 jobs. [Sonecon.com, 8/10/10, emphasis added]

Based on Shapiro's research, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein created the following chart showing net job losses before and after the Recovery Act was enacted:

[Washington Post, 8/12/10]

President Bush Oversaw "The Weakest Eight-Year Span For The U.S. Economy In Decades." According to the Washington Post: "President Bush has presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades, according to an analysis of key data, and economists across the ideological spectrum increasingly view his two terms as a time of little progress on the nation's thorniest fiscal challenges." [Washington Post, 1/2/09]

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