Appearing on America's Newsroom today, Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes said that "the issue set is very difficult for president Obama" going into the 2012 election, in part because "the stimulus -- most people think it didn't work."
While it may be the case that "most people think it didn't work," analysts at Goldman Sachs, IHS/Global Insight, JP Morgan Chase, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody's Economy.com say that the stimulus boosted GDP by between 2.1 and 3.5 percent as of the third quarter of 2010. Private-sector analysts also estimate that 2.1 to 2.5 million employed people would be out of a job were it not for the stimulus.
If Hayes thinks that means the stimulus "didn't work," fine. But unless news organizations provide these numbers, people don't really know how to judge the impact of the stimulus on the economy.
In fact, most people don't even know what was in the stimulus package. A Bloomberg poll conducted in October found that "by 52 percent to 19 percent, likely voters say federal income taxes have gone up for the middle class in the past two years," when in fact:
The Obama administration has cut taxes -- largely for the middle class -- by $240 billion since taking office on Jan. 20, 2009. A program aimed at families earning less than $150,000 that was contained in the stimulus package lowered the burden for 95 percent of working Americans by $116 billion, or about $400 per year for individuals and $800 for married couples. Other measures include breaks for college education, moderate- income families and the unemployed and incentives to promote renewable energy.
A New York Times/CBS News Poll found in September that "fewer than one in 10 respondents knew that the Obama administration had lowered taxes for most Americans." A September CBS News poll also found that "only 8 percent think taxes have gone down. In fact, most Americans received a tax break in 2009."
Fox has done more than any other news outlet to obscure the fact that Obama cut nearly everyone's taxes. Fox has also been declaring that the stimulus failed since mid-2009, only months after it was signed into law. Now that people are thoroughly misinformed, Stephen Hayes can forward the Fox narrative by simply reporting their beliefs.