February 18, 2010 6:25 pm ET - by Matt Finkelstein
Yesterday, Media Matters Action noted that Republicans might be recalibrating their attacks on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a statement, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) argued that "not one net job" has been created by the bill -- a conspicuous shift after months of Republicans claiming that it "didn't create any jobs" at all.
On Fox News this afternoon, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) provided more evidence that Republicans are backtracking. Since his campaign, Brown has repeatedly claimed that the recovery effort failed to create jobs. But today, the senator was singing a slightly different tune. After repeating the false charge that "we haven't created one new job," Brown clarified, "The net job growth isn't where it needs to be." Watch:
The "net jobs" argument, however, completely undermines the credibility of Republicans, who have been telling the American people for a year that government spending can't possibly create jobs. Now, they're basically admitting they were wrong and attacking Democrats for not creating more jobs than were lost in the recession. Steve Benen explained why this strategy doesn't work:
It's really very foolish -- the recession began in December 2007, and the economy fell off a cliff in September 2008. The month the president took office, thanks to conditions Obama inherited, the economy lost 741,000 jobs. A month later, it was 681,000. A month after that, it was 652,000. Of course there's going to be a net job loss. The net loss will exist for quite a long while. When a nation experiences a downturn of this severity -- easily the worst since the Great Depression -- it takes a very long time to make up the lost ground.
Indeed, there's still quite a bit of ground to make up. But if conditions continue to improve, it's going to be tough for Republicans to justify their attacks on a measure that is helping millions of Americans.
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