Changing Tune? Pence Says "Not One Net Job Has Been Created" By The Recovery Act

February 17, 2010 1:06 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

For nearly a year, Republicans have insisted that President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus, was a "failure" because it "didn't create any jobs."

But as the conservative talking points become less plausible -- the Recovery Act has created up to 2.4 million jobs, according to the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office -- Republicans are left stretching to attack the program.  Today, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) issued a statement calling the stimulus a failure.  However, in a marked change in rhetoric, Pence did not say the bill failed to create jobs, but rather that "not one net job has been created":

One year later, one thing is clear: the stimulus bill has failed.  One year later, not one net job has been created as unemployment rose from 7.6 percent to nearly 10 percent nationwide.

The distinction here is important. By shifting the focus to "net jobs," Pence is effectively conceding that the Recovery Act did create jobs -- that, while unemployment rose more than expected, we would be even worse off if the program hadn't passed.       

What's more, the "net jobs" argument just isn't very compelling unless you believe that long term trends can be reversed overnight.  Consider the following chart showing job losses by month since December 2007:

Clearly, things have been going in the right direction since the stimulus was enacted. And while it's obviously not good that more jobs have been lost than gained, the fact remains that millions more Americans would have lost their jobs, their health care, and their homes if Republicans had successfully blocked the bill. 

For more on the success of the Recovery Act, click HERE