Hannity falsely claimed CBO "say[s]" economic recovery plan is "not a stimulus bill"
Research ››› ››› GREG LEWIS
Discussing the economic recovery bill, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that the Congressional Budget Office "say[s] it's not a stimulus bill." However, in analyzing the House and Senate versions of the bill, the CBO stated it expects that either version "would have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years."
Discussing the economic recovery bill during the February 2 broadcast of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity falsely claimed that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) "say[s] it's not a stimulus bill." However, in analyzing the House version of the bill, H.R. 1, and the proposed Senate version, the CBO stated that it expects the measures to "have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years." Additionally, as Media Matters for America documented, in his January 27 testimony before the House Budget Committee, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said that H.R. 1 would "provide massive fiscal stimulus that includes a combination of government spending increases and revenue reductions." Elmendorf further stated: "In CBO's judgment, H.R. 1 would provide a substantial boost to economic activity over the next several years."
Hannity also suggested that the CBO, in addition to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, has stated that money spent "in 2010, 2011, 2012" would be ineffective as economic stimulus, asserting that "[w]hat they're telling us" is "the infrastructure spending and real spending in this bill comes out in 2010, 2011, 2012. How does that -- how do you label that a stimulus plan?" But as Media Matters has noted, economists, including Elmendorf, have said that fiscal stimulus in 2010 or later would be effective in the current economic situation, in which economic output is projected to remain below its potential long after the technical beginning of the recovery. In his January 27 testimony, Elmendorf stated that, unlike in ordinary "periods of economic weakness" that "are fairly short-lived," "CBO projects that economic output will remain significantly below its potential for several more years, so policies that provide stimulus for an extended period of time may be appropriate."
From the February 2 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity:
HANNITY: We had a stimulus in the early part of the year. What -- when has government spending like this -- first of all, it's unprecedented in American history. James, when has this ever worked in history? It never has.
JAMES DELINGPOLE (author): In my country, we've been punished for this over the last 12 years. You can either advance the cause of the economy or you can advance the cause of socialism. You can't do both.
HANNITY: And Great Britain is on the verge of bankruptcy.
DELINGPOLE: I'm afraid it is. Yeah, we've seen it all before.
BOB BECKEL (Fox News contributor): It was on the verge of bankruptcy when the -- when Labour took over. That was the problem.
And by the way, in that introduction you just gave, when you described that bill, there were more factual errors in the opening of that than I've ever heard you give, which is an amazing thing. There's no mall money, No. 1.
HANNITY: There was. They took it out.
BECKEL: It's not in the bill, Sean.
HANNITY: They took it out.
BECKEL: There's a final bill - let me explain to you how this works. House, Senate, get together conference. Right. Now --
HANNITY: I understand.
BECKEL: And you're going to -- I know you do. I'm proud of you, and that Catholic education did you a world of good.
Now, I don't know where you've gotten misguided, but somewhere along the way. Look, the fact of the matter is that the Republicans now have gotten a lot in this bill in the last 48 hours. Obama has met with more Republicans in three days than George Bush met with Democrats in four years.
And you get business tax breaks, and you've now got housing credits that the Republicans wanted. What more do you want? And you lost. And you lost. If it were up to me --
HANNITY: I understand Obama and Nancy Pelosi say that at every meeting.
Here's the problem, Bob, is that the Congressional Budget Office, which used to be the gold standard that we used to rely on to give us information, even they say it's not a stimulus bill. Goldman Sachs' CEO says it's not a stimulus bill.
What they're telling us is the following is that, you know, the infrastructure spending and the real spending in this bill comes out in 2010, 2011, 2012. How does that -- how do you label that a stimulus bill?
BECKEL: First of all, if I could just update you at little bit. At this hour, they're now up to 74 percent in the first two years -- the Congressional Budget Office.
Secondly, what is your alternative? Do you want to go back to George Bush economics?