Friday, October 31st, 2014

Boehner, Dewhurst and stimulus jobs

David Dewhurst and John Boehner aired similar claims. (Austin American-Statesman photo).
David Dewhurst and John Boehner aired similar claims. (Austin American-Statesman photo).

Courtesy of our colleagues at PolitiFact Ohio, we learned of a flawed claim about the economic stimulus signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009 that originated with Republicans in Congress. The claim’s targets included two Texas Democrats.

All this happened before Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who just declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, trod the same turf.

Shortly after noon July 5, House Speaker John Boehner tweeted a July 3 blog posting from the conservative Weekly Standard’s website, labeling it "POTUS’ economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per job." (POTUS stands for president of the United States.)
   
Around 4 p.m., the National Republican Congressional Committee followed suit with multiple press releases that used the same Weekly Standard item to target dozens of Democrats in Congress including Reps. Henry Cuellar and Ruben Hinojosa of Texas. Its headline: "New Report Shows Dems’ Failed Stimulus Cost $278,000 Per Job As Economy Got Worse." It went onto claim that each targeted member’s "government spending spree" delivered "little except skyrocketing debt owed to foreign countries like China."

And in Texas that day, Dewhurst said in a Twitter message: "What a nightmare! Obama's own economists say the stimulus cost $278K per job ‘created.’ "

His comment was followed by a link to the Weekly Standard blog entry, which links to a White House report that, in fact, does not include the per-job figure. Also, we concluded, the cost-per-job claim leaves the misimpression that the stimulus money went solely for jobs rather than a range of projects. It’s rated False.