It's "Not So Tough To Spot" AAN's Bogus Attacks
Norm Coleman's American Action Network must think its ads featuring taxpayers with their clothes — literally — "stripped" from their backs by "wasteful" spending are pretty clever, because the organization has released four carbon copies of the ads to attack Reps. Steve Kagen (D-WI), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Tom Perriello (D-VA), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM). However, the only thing that the taxpaying viewers of this ad are "stripped" of is the truth. Though AAN portrays the Recovery Act as "wasteful," the program actually saved millions of jobs and prevented further economic turmoil. Additionally, while AAN blames these congressmen for the debt, the real culprit is President Bush, who, before these representatives were even in office, ballooned both publicly and privately-held debt as well as the deficit.
American Action Network: "Stripped Us"
The taxpayers in Congressman [Steve Kagen's/Kurt Schrader's/Tom Perriello's/Martin Heinrich's] district? We're not so tough to spot. [Kagen/Schrader/Perriello/Heinrich] stripped us with the wasteful stimulus, spent the shirts off our backs. [On-Screen Text]: $14 Trillion Debt. [Kagen/Schrader/Perriello/Heinrich] is taking money from our pockets to put in Washington's pockets. [Actor: "Now I don't have any pockets."] Now Congress wants to strip us bare with more spending. Call Congressman [Kagen/Schrader/Perriello/Heinrich]. Tell him vote to cut spending this November. The American Action Network is responsible for the content of this advertising.
"Wasteful"? The Recovery Act Created Millions Of Jobs And Boosted The Economy
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]
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.
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, 10/8/10]
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]
Bush Policies And The Recession — Not Reps. Kagen, Schrader, Perriello, And Heinrich — Blew Up The Debt
Before The Current Congressional Session Began, 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]
- Reps. Schrader, Perriello, And Heinrich Were Sworn In To The House Of Representatives In 2009. According to OpenCongress, Reps. Kurt Schrader, Tom Perriello, and Martin Heinrich were sworn into Congress in 2009. [OpenCongress.org, accessed 10/21/10; OpenCongress.org, accessed 10/21/10; OpenCongress.org, accessed 10/21/10]
CBPP: Deficit Grew By $3 TRILLION Because Of Policies Passed From 2001 To 2007. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: "Congressional Budget Office data show that the tax cuts have been the single largest contributor to the reemergence of substantial budget deficits in recent years. Legislation enacted since 2001 added about $3.0 trillion to deficits between 2001 and 2007, with nearly half of this deterioration in the budget due to the tax cuts (about a third was due to increases in security spending, and about a sixth to increases in domestic spending)." [CBPP, accessed 1/31/10, parentheses original]
- Congressman Kagen Was Sworn In To The House Of Representatives In 2007. According to OpenCongress, Rep. Steve Kagen was sworn into office in 2007. [OpenCongress.org, accessed 10/21/10]
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:
Public And Foreign-Held Debt Skyrocketed While Bush Was In Office. Below are two graphs prepared by the Speaker's office showing the increase of publicly and foreign-held debt during the years Bush was in office:
[U.S. Treasury via The Gavel, 6/11/10]