The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin admits we were heading into a second Great Depression when President Obama took office, but says give Bush and Paulson credit for saving us, not the stimulus package.
February 17, 2014

It's upside down land over at Faux "news" again. If you thought the WSJ's Stephen Moore's schtick was bad this Monday, where he was repeating the Republican zombie lies about the stimulus package and our economic recovery, get a load of The Washington Post's favorite right wing hack, Jennifer Rubin.

Here's how she responded after host Bill Hemmer read a statement from the White House, noting that the Recovery Act helped to avert a second Great Depression, and asked her if it was "true that a second Great Depression is where we were headed?"

RUBIN: Well, I think we were, but I don't think it was the stimulus that did it. The measures taken by President Bush and Chairman Bernanke and our then Treasury Secretary Paulson, which put together a series of banking measures to keep the economy liquid. There's a very good argument that those measures saved us.

There's virtually no argument that says that the stimulus worked and frankly the idea that the stimulus would have a lasting impact if counter to the usual Keynesian arguments, which is the impact is right then and there. That was why we were supposed to have a recovery, because you get "shovel ready" jobs. That didn't work out and now they have a new explanation that they'll pay off sometime in the future. That's a new one.

The "new one" is the garbage that just came out of Rubin's mouth. The bailout saved Wall Street and the financial sector, but she wants us to believe that it somehow put Americans back to work as well.

Here's more from The Plum Line's Greg Sargent on the need to counter the nonsense we're hearing from the right wing today: The stimulus act was a success — and we need another:

Republican animus toward the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, popularly known as the stimulus, hasn’t decreased over time. Today marks five years since President Obama signed the legislation into law, and Republicans from Marco Rubio to John Cornyn are using the anniversary to bash not only the bill but also the very idea of government spending.

It’s important to knock down these conservative claims about the stimulus, which haven’t gotten any more factually accurate over time. And it’s not just a matter of correcting the historical record — people shouldn’t be made to be afraid of proactive government intervention, which the economy undoubtedly needs more of.

Many of the things Republicans are saying today about the stimulus bill are predicated on a similar and presumably deliberate misunderstanding: that the legislation was meant to permanently fix the economy.

“Five years later, underemployment is still too high, the number of people that have dropped out of the workforce is astounding, unemployment remains stubbornly high and our economy isn’t growing fast enough — proof that massive government spending, particularly debt spending, is not the solution to our economic growth problems,” said Rubio.

But the stimulus bill was meant to provide a temporary bump to the economy — and it did just that. Here are the facts:

  • Gross domestic product and total payroll employment were at historic lows when the stimulus passed, and private-sector layoffs were peaking. All three of these very important indicators began to turn around almost exactly the moment the stimulus passed. (The Center for American Progress has some great charts here.)
  • The Congressional Budget Office concluded that the GDP in the fourth quarter of 2009 was as much as 3.8 percent higher than it would have been without the stimulus.
  • At the end of 2010, there were approximately 2.5 million more jobs in the country that wouldn’t have existed without the stimulus, according to Mark Zandi of Moody’s
  • The bill kept nearly 6 million people out of poverty in 2009, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

Most of the spending measures in the stimulus bill have expired, but the point is that it did what it was supposed to do. For Republicans to simply say “the economy is still bad, so the stimulus was a failure” is a cheap misdirection. Read on...

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