Nancy Pelosi refuses to use the word "stimulus" to describe the president's "American Jobs Act." But when asked today to name significant differences between the Jobs Act and the 2009 stimulus package, Pelosi didn't identify any, except the amount of money each bill costs. "This is a much smaller package," she said of the $447 billion American Jobs Act. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act cost $862 billion.
Pelosi praised the 2009 Recovery Act as "a success in terms of job creation," though it wasn't "fully appreciated."
"Without the Recovery Act and accompanying federal interventions, whether from the Fed, or Cash for Clunkers, or other initiatives, the unemployment rate last year at the time of the election would have been fourteen and a half percent, not nine and a half percent," said Minority Leader Pelosi. "But if you're a voter and you don't have a job that doesn't mean anything to you and that's right, because nine and a half percent is too high."
The White House infamously predicted that the Recovery Act would keep the unemployment rate from rising above 8 percent. Democrats have since argued that things would have been even worse had the stimulus not passed. Pelosi's claim that the unemployment rate would have reached 14.5 percent without government intervention seems to be a new high.
Here's the transcript of Pelosi's response to the questions on the Jobs Act at her press conference today:
THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Madame Leader ... do you think the Jobs Act will be more or less successful than the Recovery Act at creating jobs? And secondly, what do you think are the most significant differences between Jobs Act and the Recovery Act?
PELOSI: Well, let me just say that as a matter of fact that the Recovery Act saved millions of jobs--or saved or created millions of jobs for our economy. Without the Recovery Act and accompanying federal interventions, whether from the Fed, or cash for clunkers, or other initiatives, the unemployment rate last year at the time of the election would have been fourteen and a half percent, not nine and a half percent. But if you're a voter and you don't have a job that doesn't mean anything to you, and that's right, because nine and a half percent is too high. But we were near a depression under the Bush economic policies. We were in a depression, we were in a meltdown under our fiscal situation. And we had deep, deep deficits. And now we have to dig out of that. So I believe the recovery package was a success in terms of job creation. It wasn't fully appreciated. The fact is that it made a big difference. It made a big difference in helping us have a running start on electronic medical records, which are going to be job creators and improve quality of care, lower cost, expand access, and, again, create jobs.
Four million jobs will be created by the health care bill and the associated initiatives like what was in the Recovery package on health care alone. So I think it was a success.
This is a much smaller package. But the president says it will create 1.9--not the president but those who... What is it? The CBO, whatever--have said 1.9 million jobs. That's a good start. But hopefully it will have an explosive effect that people with jobs will become consumers who help create jobs. Which takes us back to small businesses which is what we think if people have jobs and we have more consumers, our small businesses will thrive. People will be more entrepreneurial, take risks, keep us competitive, whether it's talking about making chocolate candy comes to mind, or children's clothes, or high-tech inventions in their garage as Steve Jobs did those decades ago.