From Media Matters For America -- April 4, 2010:
Brit Hume accuses White House of "economic illiteracy" by pushing economic myths.
Fox News contributor Brit Hume relied on dubious claims to accuse the White House of "economic illiteracy," pushing the myth that March employment gains were primarily driven by "government jobs" and the discredited claim that the stimulus has failed. But March job growth at private employers was the largest in nearly three years, and economic analyses have concluded that unemployment would be higher and GDP lower without the stimulus.
During the April 4 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Hume stated:
HUME: This is an administration that seems beset by kind of an economic illiteracy. I don't think the president nor those immediately around him really have a grasp -- surprisingly -- have very little grasp of what the private -- how the private sector works, how incentives work, and how disincentives work.
Hume's accusation is based on discredited and dubious economic analysis.
Hume: "So many of the jobs were these government jobs." Discussing March's unemployment numbers recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Hume commented: "Just as in the past, so many of the jobs were these government jobs which have either been saved, as they like to say, or created." He continued, "This is, in jobs terms, an exceedingly feeble recovery."
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Private employers added 123,000 jobs in March. In the most recent monthly employment survey, BLS reported that total nonfarm payroll increased by 162,000 employees in March; private employers added 123,000 employees in March, the Largest One-Month Gain Since May 2007.
Hume: "I think the stimulus has been remarkably ineffective." During the discussion, Hume also stated: "They talk about the effect of the stimulus. I think the stimulus has been remarkably ineffective."
Independent analysts agree with White House: Unemployment would be higher, GDP lower without stimulus. In a quarterly report issued January 13, the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) estimated: "As of the fourth quarter of 2009, the CEA estimates that the [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] has raised employment relative to the baseline by between 1½ and 2 million. The CEA estimates for both the effects on GDP and employment are similar to those of respected private forecasters and government agencies." From CEA's quarterly report:
In the same report, CEA stated: "The CEA estimates suggest that the Act contributed between 2 and 3 percentage points to real GDP growth in the second quarter; between 3 and 4 percentage points in the third quarter; and between 1½ and 3 percentage points in the fourth quarter. The estimates imply that as a result, it has raised the level of GDP at the end of 2009 by about 2 percent, relative to what otherwise would have been." CEA noted that "private sector estimates" of the stimulus effects on GDP were "generally similar":