DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Economy Is 'Continuing on the Upswing'

September 6, 2011 - 12:15 PM

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.) (AP photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) - Just days after the Labor Department announced zero job growth for the month of August, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.), the chair of the Democratic National Committee, said that the economy is “continuing on the upswing" and that every economist "worth their salt" acknowledges that this is the result of the economic stimulus signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009.

When Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February of that year, the national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week, the national unemployment rate was 9.1 percent this August, unchanged from July. Before Obama signed the economic stimulus, his top economic advisers predicted unemployment would stay below 8 percent if it were enacted.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the the stimulus cost $825 billion.

During Obama's presidency, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, annualized growth in the real Gross Domestic Product peaked at 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2010. By the first two quarters of this year, it had dropped to 0.4 percent and 1.0 percent.

Still, Wasserman Schultz, when asked on MSNBC on Tuesday whether the president could sell another jobs plan to Congress if it resembled the stimulus package, the DNC chair argued that the stimulus worked and is responsible for an economy she described as "continuing on the upswing."

“The Republicans who think that the Recovery Act didn’t work are simply wrong,” said Wasserman Schultz. “The Recovery Act as of the beginning of this year created an additional 3.6 million jobs. The Recovery Act had a direct impact on making sure that teachers, firefighters, police officers were able to remain in their jobs. It begun--it helped begin to turn the economy around. Fifty percent of it was tax breaks to small businesses and to the middle class.”

Wasserman Schultz said Republicans cannot ignore the facts of success from the stimulus.

“So, every economist you would talk to that is worth their salt acknowledges that without the Recovery Act we would not be continuing on the upswing,” Wasserman Schultz continued during an interview on Morning Joe. “We’d still be either stuck or spiraling downward. So the Republicans can’t make up their own facts. The bottom line is the Recovery Act had an impact.”

The non-partisan FactCheck.org said in an analysis in June that the stimulus failed to meet expectations.

“CBO's high estimate is still short of the 3.5 million jobs that Obama had said would be created by the end of 2010, so it’s accurate to say the stimulus has failed to live up to initial expectations,” FactCheck.org said. “White House advisers wrongly estimated that the stimulus would bring the unemployment rate down to 7 percent — though they also thought the rate without the stimulus would be lower than it actually is, and they made clear that ‘substantial uncertainty’ surrounded those estimates.”