Vice President Biden Thursday made the remarkable claim that the stimulus, which many thought was created to rescue the economy, actually wasn’t.
Here’s what he said at a White House event celebrating the second anniversary of the law, according to a pool report.
“The Recovery Act wasn’t designed to bring back the economy,” Biden said. “We never advertised” that it would bring back the economy considering how deep of a hole the U.S. economy was in, Biden said.
Well, with unemployment still at 9 percent two years later and the stimulus under withering fire from Republicans, Biden – who was in charge of trumpeting the measure – might be excused for wanting to retroactively ramp down his sales pitch. But he has made clear statements in the past touting the law by suggesting it was indeed bringing back the economy
In March 2010, citing news that GDP had grown 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, Biden said, “a significant portion of that is attributable to the Recovery Act.”
And here what he said in June 2010:
There’s general consensus among most economists that a significant portion of the growth in the [gross domestic product] as well as the job growth is attributable to the Recovery Act . . . The pace on the ball continues to increase, not decrease, as the act rolls on in this final summer.
What’s more, in their infamous January 2009 manifesto – which wrongly forecast the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent – soon-to-be White House economic advisers Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein said that the measure would boost GDP by 3.7 percent while shaving about 2 percent off the unemployment rate.
Sounds like reviving the economy to me.
Poor Biden. He had to go to all kinds of events where he would announce the construction of a new off ramp on I-247 or whatever in some God forsaken corner of the country. He had to make excuses for a 9 percent unemployment rate prevailing amidst what is basically a massive jobs bill.
And now, after two years, Biden’s had it.
The job officially belongs to OMB Director Jack Lew, Biden announced yesterday. Lew already has the thankless task of explaining why Obama isn’t making a serious attempt to reduce the long term deficit. Or, in the view of many Republicans, the short term deficit.
Lew is a dutiful, serious type who is perfect for this stuff. Might have been better to have put a square like Lew rather than the colorful Biden on the case in the first place.