Lou Dobbs advances Wash. Times' false $3 trillion stimulus figure

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Lou Dobbs falsely claimed, "President Obama sign[ed] a $800 billion stimulus package that we now know will come to about $3 trillion with debt servicing over the next decade," echoing a false claim in a Washington Times editorial that the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the full cost of the bill would reach $3.2 trillion by 2019. In fact, more than half of of the $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill, which the bill does not do.

During the February 17 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs falsely claimed, "President Obama sign[ed] a $800 billion stimulus package that we now know will come to about $3 trillion with debt servicing over the next decade," echoing the false claim in that day's Washington Times that the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the full cost of the bill would reach $3.2 trillion by 2019. In fact, more than half of the $3.2 trillion figure comes from the cost of permanently extending more than 20 provisions in the recovery bill, which the bill does not do. CBO did not include those costs in its cost estimate of the bill; rather, in a letter to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who requested that CBO estimate the cost of permanently extending those provisions, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf noted: "As specified in H.R. 1 as passed, those provisions would either explicitly expire or would specify appropriations only for a limited number of years (usually 2009 and 2010)."

As Media Matters for America documented, the CBO has estimated that the recovery bill as passed by Congress will cost $787,242,000. In addition to including approximately $1.7 trillion to permanently extend programs that the recovery bill does not authorize to be extended, the $3.2 trillion figure cited by the Times also includes $745 billion in interest costs, which, according to Elmendorf's letter to Ryan, are not included in CBO scorekeeping.

From the February 17 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: Speaking of bigger issues, President Obama signs a $800 billion stimulus package that we now know will come to about $3 trillion with debt servicing over the next decade. How is he doing? This -- we're celebrating today his fourth week as president.

CHRIS STIGALL (KCMO radio host): Yeah, and 17,000 troops just got sent to Afghanistan today, by the way, Lou. God bless every last one of them. Interesting pick of a day, wasn't it?

Posted In
Economy, Budget
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Lou Dobbs
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs Tonight
Stories/Interests
Economic Recovery Plan
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