Club For Growth's Attack On Sestak Is "Laughably" Dishonest

October 12, 2010 11:04 am ET

Club for Growth has released a new ad in Pennsylvania attacking Rep. Joe Sestak for supporting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Not only does the group get several facts wrong, it misleads viewers on the goals of the stimulus and fails to point out that without the Recovery Act our economic outlook would be significantly worse. 

Club For Growth: "Laughably Liberal"

How liberal is Congressman Joe Sestak? Despite the recession, Sestak voted for that $700 billion Obama-Pelosi stimulus. Sestak backed sending a half a million dollars to study ant hills. $210,000 dollars to examine how honeybees learn. Even a $100,000 for socially-conscious puppet shows. Joe Sestak — laughably liberal.

Ant & Honeybee Research

The Recovery Act "Didn't Release Money For Ant Research Directly." According to PolitiFact.com:

But the stimulus didn't release money for ant research directly, and you won't find a "study of ants" in the bill's text.

Instead, the federal stimulus gave $3 billion to the National Science Foundation, which otherwise had a budget of about $6.5 billion in 2009. The foundation is an independent federal agency devoted to the progress of science. It distributed the stimulus money using the same peer-review process that it normally uses to decide which scientific research deserves funding. [PolitiFact.com, 9/20/10]

Stimulus Money Was Not Directly Allocated To Honeybee Research. According to Recovery.gov, the National Science Foundation gave the University of Hawaii a $210,000 grant "for behavioral experiments with honeybees focused on short-term memory, concept learning, and relational learning." This funding was not included in the stimulus package, but was distributed at the discretion of the NSF. [Recovery.gov, accessed 10/12/10]

Minneapolis Puppet Show Received $25,000 — Not $100,000 — To Save The Job Of The Community Program Director

In The Heart Of The Beast Puppet And Mask Theatre Received A $25,000 Grant. According to data from Recovery.gov, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act awarded In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre a $25,000 grant on July 15, 2009. [Recovery.gov, accessed 10/12/10]

The $25,000 Grant Saved The Job Of The Community Program Director. KSTP.com reported:

The theater, located on East Lake Street for 37 years, received a $25,000 economic stimulus grant.

Foran said, "An employed artist is as valuable as an employed computer programmer, employed plumber, employed contractor, employed construction worker." 

Kathee Foran, executive director of the theater, said the grant for which the theater applied had to be tied to a specific job.

Foran said the money was used to save the job of their community program director--who [sic] duties include booking shows outside the theater that keep the puppet artists employed. [KSTP.com, 12/9/09]

The Fact Remains: Without The Stimulus, The Economy Would Be In A Worse State

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]

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