[Guest post by DRJ]
Today on Meet The Press, Vice President Joe Biden answered questions on the Stimulus:
“MR. GREGORY: But the point of the stimulus was it would stop the unemployment picture from getting worse, right? Wasn’t that the claim?
VICE PRES. BIDEN: And it has.
MR. GREGORY: It has? Well, here…
VICE PRES. BIDEN: It’s not getting worse.
MR. GREGORY: But here’s the reality, and that is…
VICE PRES. BIDEN: Relative.
MR. GREGORY: …that when this report was issued by your economic adviser…
VICE PRES. BIDEN: Yes.
MR. GREGORY: …and Dr. Romer from the White House, the assertion was that you could keep unemployment at 8 percent and then it would go down after that. In fact, it’s now at 9.4 percent. Was it oversold?
VICE PRES. BIDEN: No, look. No. What we did is we took the econometric models that were used by businesses as well as academics. At the time no one realized how bad the economy was. The projections, in fact, turned out to be worse. But it was–we, we, we took the mainstream model as to what we thought and everyone else thought the unemployment rate would be. But the fact of the matter is the–I don’t think anyone can dispute the unemployment rate would be considerably higher, but for–at least 150,000 jobs higher, but for this economic stimulus package.
MR. GREGORY: Right. But the, but this package was sold on the premise that it would in fact keep unemployment at 8 percent. It’s exceeded that…
VICE PRES. BIDEN: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
MR. GREGORY: …with the recovery plan.
VICE PRES. BIDEN: It wasn’t sold on that. It was sold on it would create…
MR. GREGORY: That’s what the report said, Mr. Vice President.
VICE PRES. BIDEN: …or–no, it said it would–what would happen was it would save or create jobs. It’s doing that. It is doing that. Everyone guessed wrong, at the time the estimate was made, about what the state of the economy was at the moment this was passed. Now, we’re going to recalibrate this in terms of what we’ve inherited, what in fact is going on out there. But look, the bottom line is that jobs are being created that would not have been there before. All you’ve got to do is go into New York City. There’s 14,000 teachers working who got their, got their notices. Go with me up to New Flyer bus company up in Minnesota, come–I mean, there–it’s–throughout the country, it’s creating jobs.
MR. GREGORY: Regardless, though, the economy is worse off with or without this stimulus plan that this administration expected.
VICE PRES. BIDEN: The economy was worse off when we made the assessment than anyone thought it was. The economy is actually getting better, things are getting better. We have a long, long way to go. But now you see what’s happening. We’re having a, a situation where housing is starting to improve, where lending is starting to come forward, where we have a situation where we’ve gained some control of the automobile companies who otherwise would have had to been liquidated in terms of them staying in business and having a prospect of growing. So I think if you ask out there, look–and look at what the, you know, these measures of confidence in the economy are. Everyone feels mildly better about where the economy’s going.“
Everyone feels “mildly better”? That’s lowering the bar.
PS – Biden won’t rule out running for President.