Published February 21, 2010
Tiger Woods and John Edwards had a better year than the stimulus bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday, arguing that the $787 billion spending bill passed a year ago saved some jobs -- government ones.
Comparing the golfer and former presidential candidate, who both suffered public scandals in 2009, to the recovery bill, McConnell, R-Ky., said the legislation was sold on the claim that unemployment wouldn't go above 8 percent. Unemployment peaked late last year at 10.2 percent and now is 9.7 percent.
McConnell said the stimulus bill has done "little or nothing" to stimulate the private sector.
"It probably did save a lot of state government jobs, and I'm sure the governors were grateful to have it. They don't have the luxury we have of borrowing money from future generations to deal with short- term emergencies," he said.
But Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, said the stimulus has created short- and long-term investment that has helped the auto industry in her state invest in the electric vehicle, creating a whole new sector for the economy.
Granholm said 15 companies in Michigan, where unemployment is 14.6 percent, are working on electric vehicles and the stimulus bill saved 42,000 jobs there. She added that it also has helped people with unemployment benefits.
'If we'd not seen the aggressive action ... millions more people would've been out of work," she told "Fox News Sunday. "It hasn't fixed the problem, nobody's going to say that, but it has slowed the trajectory of job loss."
In Mississippi, where unemployment is 10.6 percent, the state has taken $370 million in stimulus funds, but Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, said he was "flabbergasted" by a report on his state that said the stimulus package created 500 jobs for a cost of $350 million.
"That's $700,000 a job," he said. "The first stimulus package was twice as much money as was needed and they could've created twice as much jobs at half the cost."
Barbour said better ideas would be a payroll tax holiday or freeing up credit for small businesses.
"A lot of those jobs that are quote 'saved' are state government jobs. It's no question state government has benefited," he said.
Speaking on ABC's "This Week," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said infrastructure spending will put a huge number of people to work and that will save the economy.
"Now we're kind of like only spending 2.5 percent of our GDP on infrastructure," not the 5 percent that was spent during infrastructure expansion in the 1950s and '60s.
"I don't think that we need another stimulus as much as what we need is just to do what we have been talking about over the last two years, and that is rebuild America, because that will create jobs," he said.
"We could fill up every baseball stadium in this country, Terry, with people who got jobs or whose job was saved by the stimulus," added Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who appeared with Schwarzenegger.
"There's no ifs, ands or butts about it. Pennsylvania's budget is a little under $28 billion. We get almost $3 billion this year from stimulus. Take that $3 billion away, we've cut most of our program grants to the bone. You'd have to lay off -- I'd have to lay off 37,000 state workers to balance the budget. We have 76,000 state workers," he said.