Political Animal


October 11, 2011 9:20 AM Define ‘every’

By Steve Benen

It seems unlikely that there’s a sizable group of Americans who take Lou Dobbs seriously, but he made a comment yesterday that’s worth highlighting.

Fox Business host Lou Dobbs falsely claimed that “every major economist” thinks Obama’s American Jobs Act is “a continuation of” the “nonsense” that is “excess confidence in government power to do something over the economy.”

With the Senate poised to move on the American Jobs Act, let’s take a moment to note how completely wrong Dobbs really is.

To say that “every major economist” has dismissed the jobs bill as “nonsense” is precisely backwards — the clear majority of economists believe the American Jobs Act would boost economic growth and lower the unemployment rate.

This isn’t even controversial. The day after President Obama’s joint-session speech, the AP reported, “A tentative thumbs-up. That was the assessment Thursday night from economists who offered mainly positive reviews of President Barack Obama’s $450 billion plan to stimulate job creation.” Economists at the Economic Policy Institute published a very favorable response to the plan, and economists at Macroeconomic Advisers projected that the White House plan “would give a significant boost to GDP and employment over the near-term.”

Two weeks ago, Bloomberg News surveyed a group of major economists and found that they believe the jobs bill would “help avoid a return to recession by maintaining growth and pushing down the unemployment rate next year.” While the economists surveyed had widely divergent estimates, the overall consensus among the experts is that the Americans Jobs Act would create hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of jobs.

What’s more, while Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and CBO chief Doug Elmendorf didn’t explicitly endorse the American Jobs Act, they expressed public support for the concept behind the plan.

In the meantime, independent economists who’ve been asked to look at Republican job-creation ideas have found the GOP measures are largely meaningless and would have no discernible effect.

And yet, there’s Lou Dobbs, insisting that “every major economist” thinks the American Jobs Act is “nonsense.” If Dobbs wants to argue that economists are wrong, fine. If he wants to make the case that economists are relying on the wrong forecasting models, fine. Maybe he could argue that the entire profession has been taken over by liberals.

What he shouldn’t do is pretend fantasy is reality. Most economists, like most of the general public, believes the president’s jobs bill would help the economy. The right may find this inconvenient, but facts are sometimes stubborn.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


Post a comment
  • del on October 11, 2011 9:28 AM:

    That is the state that most Republicans are in, an alternate reality and the state of denial. I am also getting tired of the mainstream media (like George S on ABC) asking questions from the Republican talking points and acting like they really have merit.

  • T2 on October 11, 2011 9:41 AM:

    so the question is: Why would FOX news intentionally lie about an Obama program?
    I'm not sure why this question needs to be asked.

  • zmulls on October 11, 2011 9:41 AM:

    Is there a study anywhere that examines salaries of TV reporters and pundits? How much "anchors" make in local markets vs. national markets? How much other 'behind-the-desk' jobs (pundits, sports reporters) make? How much 'in the field' reporters make (standing with a microphone under an umbrella)?

    I'm serious. I have to believe that most TV folks are in the top 2% of income getters ($250K+), even at the local level. Except maybe the local guy who stands on a corner talking about how traffic is that day. And most national TV personalities, even marginal ones, are likely in the top 1% (approx. $390K+, if I'm not mistaken).

    Every single damn time some jerk on TV condemns, or ridicules, or otherwise pooh-poohs the OWS protestors, it needs to be pointed out that they are the very people being protested against, and *OF COURSE* they are going to disagree....

  • Anonymous on October 11, 2011 9:45 AM:

    What Lou Dobbs meant was "every major economist I know" - i.e., none, except the ones that send me messages through my fillings.

    Seriously, how do people like him stay employed? If I misrepresented reality to the degree most network/cable news personalities do, I'd not only be fired but probably committed to a hospital.

  • karen marie on October 11, 2011 9:47 AM:

    What Lou Dobbs meant was "every major economist I know" - i.e., none, except the ones that send me messages through my fillings.

    Seriously, how do people like him stay employed? If I misrepresented reality to the degree most network/cable news personalities do, I'd not only be fired but probably committed to a hospital.

    PS: Captcha is being particularly tetchy today. Let's see if the fourth time will be the charm.

  • FRP on October 11, 2011 9:52 AM:

    You , and every man , woman , and child , who are unalterably offended by the foppish pulp literature fictions promoted by Georgee porgie Will . As irritatingly insular reflections on current affairs being rather more in line as committable rubbish , or perhaps a romantic attachment to corporate welfare and crony capitalism . That is of course Will's choice , to write insane diversions as if they mirrored reflections of an actual state of existence . Will and his personal refusal to concede that any person opposing him may not only be useful , but have an actual dynamic , is an obsessive admiring of the monkey , too much .

  • Todd for VT House on October 11, 2011 9:52 AM:

    Must be the same economists Boehner spoke of...

  • Danp on October 11, 2011 9:53 AM:

    Does anyone know when Lou Dobbs bumped his head? He used to be respectable in a boring kind of way. Now he's just Glenn Beck without a chalkboard.

  • Josef K on October 11, 2011 9:54 AM:

    What he shouldn’t do is pretend fantasy is reality.

    Maybe poor Lou is so profoundly dyslexic it affects his capacity for abstract thought, causing him to mentally 'flip' basic concepts like "real/fantasy" and "day/night".

    I'm trying to be generous here.

  • Ron Byers on October 11, 2011 9:55 AM:

    Karen, one of the previous times seems to have worked. Your comment is up twice.

  • kevo on October 11, 2011 9:55 AM:

    Deranged is the descriptor for many on the Right, like Dobbs, who would be king (with jockeys on the front lawn)! -Kevo

  • FRP on October 11, 2011 9:59 AM:

    karen marie 9:47 AM:

    Hilarious , and then Sad but trew .

    Just one more cracked tile in it all

    If you don't eat your meat , you can't have any pudding , how can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat !

  • lisa on October 11, 2011 10:00 AM:

    Lou Dobbs is still alive?

  • dan on October 11, 2011 10:20 AM:

    Yes, Lou Dobbs on Fox Business Channel, channel 378 on your local cabel system. Brought to you by The Scooter Store.

    Could anything be more relevant?

  • berttheclock on October 11, 2011 10:24 AM:

    No, Lou, Robert Samuelson is not a Major Economist, even though WaPo uses their Welfare Checks to him as a tax writeoff.

  • Take Them at Their Turd on October 11, 2011 10:31 AM:

    Let's stretch the theoretical bounds of reality to their breaking point and try to cut the ol' Dobber a little slack: Maybe he was referring to Louie Gohmert's American Jobs Act bill.

    To quote Bill Murray on "That's Not Funny, That's Sick": "Mickey Way the candy bar? Judges won't take that?"

  • Bartender on October 11, 2011 10:49 AM:

    Am I missing something here? Don't most deranged tv reporters/commentators get sent down to the FOX minor leagues when they start getting all glen beckeee? Why is this a surprise?

  • zeitgeist on October 11, 2011 11:07 AM:

    the post treats Dobbs far to seriously, and asks questions that give Dobbs far too much credibility.

    this is very simple (not to channel SecularAnimist here, but. . . ) -- Fox lies. Intentionally. And with an agenda.

    the Reality Based among us snicker at surveys showing Fox viewers are vastly more misinformed about current issues, but that is exactly the point. if one out of every 5 or 6 Americans believes a Republican talking point that is patently untrue, there is a critical mass that touches every family, every workplace, every conversation to raise some doubt as to what the "truth" really is.

    and that sliver of doubt is fertile ground for Republican political rhetoric. it is easier to maintain some minimum acceptable support for war in Iraq if Dick Cheney can dog whistle to enough xenophobes that Saddam was involved in 9/11 or had WMD.

    Dobbs and his Faux colleagues are the megaphone for the dog whistle. they keep a significant portion of the population sufficiently in the dark for all manner of infections of the body politic to grow there.

  • Peter C on October 11, 2011 11:32 AM:

    Lou Dobbs is the 1%.

    say it with me ...

  • SYSPROG on October 11, 2011 12:21 PM:

    There is no 'alternate reality' here. Lou Dobbs knows EXACTLY what he is doing. He is a LIAR. He is STRICTLY trying to 'reassure' the people that listen to him that the President's plan is a failure. He KNOWS better. For cripe's sake, he was a financial analyst. It doesn't do any good to point this out unless you think that the right wing reads the Monthly. They are LYING and hoping you are too stupid to check.

    Captcha = 6x4 persoom...yes.

  • max on October 11, 2011 12:47 PM:

    Fox is the modern day equivalent of Paraguay in the 1940s. Every right wing criminal, crackpot and nutjob is always welcome. Dobbs self-destructed by devoting his entire CNN show to illegal immigration year after year until vurtually no one was paying attention. Now he just lies about everything.

  • robert on October 11, 2011 2:11 PM:

    “every major economist” In Faux land double speak that word "major" means "economist who agrees with me".

    So I agree with "sysprog".