Several right-wing media figures and outlets have attacked Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for accurately saying that President Obama "began to turn the economy around."
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DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz: "We Began To Turn The Economy Around"
Wasserman Schultz: "We Began To Turn The Economy Around." During a June 15 Politico Breakfast interview, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz attributed recent economic turnaround to the efforts of the Democratic party as led by President Barack Obama. Wasserman Schultz also voiced her thoughts that "we have a long way to go." From Politico:
DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (DNC CHAIR): I think arguably, President Obama inherited the most problems and challenges at once of any president since FDR. Those were difficult challenges that he had to deal with right out of the gate, so the agenda for change is still there.
ED HENRY, CNN: You said President Obama inherited a bad Bush economy. You also asserted that it's turning around, it's getting better. So my question is, at what point does your party own the economy? Is it three years after the president took office? Four years? Five to ten years? Ten to 15 years? At what point do you take ownership?
SCHULTZ: Oh, I mean, I think that we are clearly responsible for the -- I'm going to take ownership right now, because we began to turn the economy around. We have a long way to go. President Obama has said, we -- Democrats in Congress have stressed, we want the pace of recovery to pick up. But just look at the year, I mean, you've only to look at the year before President Obama. The last year of the Bush presidency, the economy lost 3.7 million jobs, just that year. We're bleeding about 750,000 jobs a month leading up to when President Obama took office. And now, even though we have a ways to go, we need to keep pushing to quicken the pace of reform, the economy has begun to turn around. We created a million jobs in the private sector in just the last six months -- 2.1 million in the last 15 months.
We have really been able to provide opportunities where there weren't before, and the manufacturing sector has had 15 straight months of growth. We rescued the American automobile industry and made sure that Americans can continue to have the choice about the kind of car that they want to drive. If it were up to the Republicans -- particularly the Republican candidates for president -- they would have pushed the American automobile industry off a cliff and said good luck, see you later. That's 1.4 million jobs right there. I was just in Indiana on Friday, and I had an opportunity to hear about the success in Cocomo, Indiana -- the jobs that came back and now that they're operating in those auto plants three shifts a day, where I think they were at one, if not none, just a little over a year ago. So, to reach the point in the auto industry in America where, since 2004, all three are operating at a profit -- Chrysler, a couple of weeks ago, paid back their loan six years early. Those are all signs.
Yeah, we own the economy. We own the beginning of the turnaround and we want to make sure that we continue that pace of recovery, not go back to the policies of the past under the Bush administration that put us in the ditch in the first place. [Politico, accessed 6/16/11]
Right-Wing Media Attack Wasserman Schultz For "Claiming Economic Success"
Kilmeade: "Top Democrats Say They've Got The Economy Under Control." During the June 16 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade said: "Top Democrats say they've got the economy under control ... But what if Americans don't see a difference? You guessed it -- then it's Bush's fault. Of course." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/16/11]
Fox & Friends: Wasserman Schultz "Ignores High Unemployment" While "Claiming Economic Success." During a later report on Wasserman Schultz's remarks on the June 16 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, the following onscreen text aired:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/11/11]
Hot Air: "Strange Equation For An Economic Turnaround!" A June 15 post on the conservative blog Hot Air said:
She's not backing down. Let the Republican National Committee poke all the fun it wants, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz stands by what she said: The nation is in an economic turnaround and Democrats deserve the credit.
The facts highlighted in the RNC's most recent video deserve review: 9.1 percent unemployment. More than 6 million foreclosures. About 1 million construction jobs lost. Some 865,000 manufacturing jobs lost. An enormous $3.7 trillion added to the national debt. Three straight record high deficits. Strange equation for an economic turnaround! [Hot Air, 6/15/11]
Washington Examiner: Wasserman Schultz "Insisted That America's Economy Has Turned Around Despite Economic Statistics." From a June 15 post to the Washington Examiner blog, "Beltway Confidential":
"We own the economy. We own the beginning of the turnaround and we want to make sure that we continue that pace of recovery, not go back to the policies of the past under the Bush administration that put us in the ditch in the first place," Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) told host Mike Allen of Politico at his 'Playbook Breakfast' at the Newseum in Washington.
The Politico breakfast was not the only time the congresswoman has insisted that America's economy has turned around despite economic statistics that paint [sic] drastically different picture. She first insisted on a recovery in her interview with David Gregory on Sunday's Meet the Press.
Perhaps the most stinging question came from CNN's Ed Henry after the congresswoman stated that the Obama administration had inherited more problems and challenges -- including the economy -- than any other president since FDR. She did not agree to "own" the economy until Henry pressed her by asking if it would be three or even 15 years before the Obama administration would be responsible for America's economic state. [Washington Examiner, Beltway Confidential, 6/15/11]
But Evidence Shows Obama's Policies Have Incited "Turnaround" By Lowering Unemployment, Boosting GDP
CBO: In The First Quarter Of 2011, Economic Stimulus Added Millions Of Jobs To The Economy. From a May 25 Congressional Business Office (CBO) post introducing their most recent report on the effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:
CBO estimates that ARRA's policies had the following effects in the first quarter of calendar year 2011:
- They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.1 percent and 3.1 percent,
- Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.6 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points,
- Increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 3.3 million, and
- Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 1.6 million to 4.6 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [CBO, 5/25/11]
CBPP: "The Economy Has Now Grown For Seven Straight Quarters." From a June 8 Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) report on "The Legacy Of The Great Recession":
Economic activity as measured by real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) was contracting sharply when policymakers enacted the financial stabilization bill (TARP) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but the economy has now grown for seven straight quarters. [CBPP, 6/8/11]
Independent And Private Analysts: Stimulus Significantly Raised Employment. In its sixth quarterly report on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the White House Council of Economic Advisors cited several economic estimates -- including estimates from Moody's economist Mark Zandi -- that concluded that the stimulus increased gross domestic product and lowered unemployment:
[Council of Economic Advisors, Sixth Quarterly Report of the Economic Impact Of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, 3/18/11]
Economists: "The Effects Of The Fiscal Stimulus" On Economy "Appear Very Substantial." As Media Matters has noted, economists have also agreed that the stimulus was effective. A March 2010 study in The Wall Street Journal found that 70 percent of economists surveyed said the stimulus "boosted growth and mitigated job losses." ABC News reported on February 18, 2010, that most of the economists on its panel thought the economy "would be worse today without the big aid package." And a February 2010 survey of 203 members of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) found that "[e]ighty-three percent believe that GDP is currently higher than it would have been without the 2009 stimulus package (ARRA)." [Media Matters, 9/26/10]