This post originally appeared in the Washington Monthly.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), after changing his mind and demanding to be sworn in yesterday, took the oath of office shortly after 5 p.m. His first official act as a federal lawmaker was to hold a press conference.
And at his press event, Brown once again insisted, as he’d done as a candidate, that the economic recovery effort that prevented a depression “hasn’t created one new job.”
A reporter gave him a chance to clarify, asking, “It didn’t create one new job?” The new senator replied, “That’s correct.”
Except, of course, that’s not even close to correct. Massachusetts’ new senator — a man filling the seat once held by John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and Ted Kennedy — has a habit of popping off on subjects he knows nothing about.
Brown’s comments are at odds with the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office, which says the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, aka “stimulus”, saved or created 600,000 to 1.6 million jobs in the third quarter of 2009. The White House’s Recovery Act website, recovery.gov, says stimulus grant recipients reported creating 9,261 jobs in Massachusetts during the fourth quarter of 2009.
The Obama Administration says Brown’s got his facts wrong.
“Economists of all political points of view, including those from the non-partisan CBO, estimate that the Recovery Act has created or saved between 1.5 and 2.4 million jobs across America,” said Jay Carney, spokesman for Vice President Joe Biden, the administration’s top Recovery Act booster and watchdog.
“Unemployment is far too high, which is why the President is so focused on jobs. But it is beyond dispute that if it were not for the Recovery Act, as many as 2.4 million more Americans would be unemployed today.”
In other words, it took Scott Brown a total of 10 minutes before embarrassing himself, repeating a blatant falsehood, and sounding like just another confused Republican who doesn’t understand the economy.