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Either the Dems are doing a terrible job of PR, or the media sucks

Two interesting bits of news:

First, a new poll shows that only 6% of Americans think the stimulus bill created any jobs.

Second, two non-partisan, well-regarded economic research firms report that the economic stimulus bill passed by Congress has created between 1.6 and 1.8 million jobs and has definitely helped get the economy moving in the right direction. And you don’t have to be an economist to see that the stimulus bill created lots of jobs — the evidence is simply everywhere. State governments were able to keep teachers, firefighters, and other jobs that would have been lost without the stimulus. Corporate spending also surged because of a tax credit for corporate investment that was part of the stimulus bill. And it increased consumer spending by at least $100 billion.

I posted this graph over a week ago, but it deserves repeating:

The question is, why do so few Americans think the stimulus bill helped? Hmmm, could it be because a Republican PR campaign against the stimulus bill? Like here, where Scott Brown, the new Republican senator from Mass., says that the stimulus bill “didn’t create one new job“? Non-partisan PolitiFact rated that line a “pants on fire” lie. Or maybe like here, an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal (now owned by the same company as Fox News) with the headline “The Stimulus Didn’t Work”. Ironically, two of the authors of this article work for The Hoover Institution, named for the Republican president that famously presided over the start of the Great Depression (mirroring Dubya’s role in the current economic mess) and whose economic policies are frighteningly similar to those of the current Republican party.

Or could it be the tea partiers, constantly screaming against any spending from Obama, but who were curiously silent when Dubya spent even larger amounts of money on two wars and an unfunded Medicare giveaway to the drug companies. The media gives tons of coverage to Tea Party events, but when was the last time they honestly discussed the economy and how it is improving? Still think there is a “liberal media” in this country?

© Lee Judge



  1. JimM wrote:

    This is nothing new – the term “liberal media” was created by a Republican disinformation campaign.

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Permalink
  2. russell wrote:

    You girls can fight about whose fault it is, but that graph is BALONEY.

    New unemployment claims this week are 470,000.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink
  3. mad_world wrote:

    I heard that it comes out to be like $300,000+ per job created. Is that good? Is it true?

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Russell, if you are going to throw out a number, can you please give a reference and a URL to it? Otherwise, you’re just pissing in the wind, and (ironically) that’s what this posting was about (how ignorance and misinformation is trumping reality).

    And to Mad World — does anyone else see the contradiction of on one hand claiming that the stimulus hasn’t created any jobs, while simultaneously claiming that it cost $300,000 per job created? You can’t have it both ways. But to (try to) answer your question, over 25% of the stimulus bill was a tax cut for … you. And around half of it was money to keep states from becoming insolvent or firing all their teachers or firemen. You should keep that in mind before you try to calculate cost per job.

    Either that, or we should have been holding Bush up to the same standard, and condemning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because of the dollar cost per terrorist killed.

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  5. Sammy wrote:

    Russell, how is that graph baloney, even if you are correct and new unemployment claims are up this week? That graph doesn’t include this week.

    Here’s a stat for you: I can bench press 400 lbs. while doing a 1080 on my snowboard. What? You want a reference?

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  6. Sammy wrote:

    Actually, according to the Dept. of Labor, the four week average of seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance claims as of February 6 is 4,585,750. This is almost identical to the average of January 30; actually a hair down. One year ago at this time, the four week average was 4,781,000.

    The initial claims filed of 473,000 for the week is virtually unchanged from the previous four weeks.

    So while Russell is correct about the 470k figure, he’s missing the bigger point.

    And I do have a link:

    Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink
  7. Iron Knee wrote:

    Thanks Sammy. If they actually bothered to look at the graph, it shows that we have stopped losing jobs, not that we are adding jobs. Hopefully, that happens next.

    Friday, February 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm | Permalink
  8. russell wrote:

    Um.. new unemployment claims are regularly reported in every form of media.

    I looked at and the job loss numbers do check out, except the graph shows december and january projections. the ACTUAL January number came in at -473,000. Sort of screws up the nice bell curve.

    But charting jobs lost is not unemployment, as it neglects the effect of jobs created. Unemployment rate does measure that net effect, and unemployment climbed to 7.7% under Bush and has risen and sort of stuck at 10% under Obama.

    Layoffs may taper off, but jobs created has been abysmal, and continues to be so – That is the “big picture”.

    Here’s a meaningful chart:

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Permalink
  9. russell wrote:

    ok that link bombed

    just google unemployment rate chart.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Russell, I really don’t understand what point you’re trying to make. First you say that the numbers in the graph do check out (which I guess contradicts your earlier claim that the graph is “baloney”), but then you say “jobs lost is not unemployment, as it neglects the effect of jobs created”. The graph I posted show how many new people joined the unemployed. This means that if it stays at zero, then unemployment remains constant. So when you say that unemployment is “stuck at 10%” I say “duh!”.

    Nobody is arguing that unemployment should not be lower. But step one is to stabilize the falling economy, and that’s what the graph I posted clearly shows. Unfortunately, the stimulus bill did not go far enough. It helped stabilize things, so the unemployment rate stopped going up. But as any economist will tell you, jobs are one of the last things to recover from a recession. So it is a good sign that the economy is recovering, but it may take a while for unemployment to go back down.

    So at this point, we have a choice. We can pass another stimulus bill, which will create jobs and make unemployment actually go down (not just the unemployment rate), but with the side effect of increasing the deficit (unless we increase taxes). Or we can not pass a new stimulus bill, which will be good for the deficit but will mean that high unemployment will remain for a few more years. It is a pretty clear choice.

    Unemployment rate versus unemployment is kind of like deficit versus national debt. Clinton turned the deficit around, ending up with budget surplus, but the US still owed lots of money (run up by all the presidents before him, especially Reagan and Bush I). However, it was still a good thing that he eliminated the deficit, so that the national debt stopped going up. Well, at least until Bush 2 got in office and along with the republican congress started spending like drunken sailors.

    Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Permalink
  11. russell wrote:


    Yup, I was wrong about most of that graph. But the actual January jobs lost is a shocker, regardless of your politics. I read that about 5 minutes before seeing the blog.

    I agree Bush II spent money like crazy, esp. on a senseless attempt to garrison Iraq. I agree Clinton did a more decent job that anybody since. He did it with a Republican congress. He also reformed welfare and limited government growth to an extent that Reagan could have only *dreamed* of.

    BUT the current mob of Goldman/Treasury department dolts are the same folks who crashed this thing, and the “stimulus” didn’t correct a flawed financial system so much as simply pump more resources into it.

    Time will tell, but I enjoy reading your blog while we wait and see.

    Sincere regards

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  12. toto 12 wrote:

    such bunk and baloney–start from the beginning, then work down

    Monday, July 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink