Fact Check: Super PAC Ad Blames Obama For "Failed Stimulus"

By Steve Kanigher

Published 08/23 2012 03:44PM

Updated 05/25 2015 01:28AM

Claim: A new advertisement airing on KLAS-TV Channel 8 that is endorsed by Restore Our Future, the super political action committee that backs presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, states: "Barack Obama wasted $800 billion on a failed stimulus and the jobless rate went up … Obama has added 5 trillion in debt."

Verdict: Partly true and partly misleading. The ad, which argues that Romney is better able to turn around the economy than Democrat Obama, correctly states that the nation's unemployment rate increased after the 2009 economic stimulus package approved by the president took effect. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate climbed from 8.3 percent in February 2009, the month Obama signed the stimulus into law, to as high as 10 percent in October 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the jobless rate slowly declined since then, got as low as 8.1 percent in April and ticked back up to 8.3 percent in July. The statement that the stimulus money was wasted, though, is simply opinion. Republicans argue that the stimulus did nothing but add to the nation's debt. Democrats counter that the economy would be far worse than it is today had it not been for the money that was spent. It is true that the nation's debt increased from $10.6 trillion in January 2009, when Obama took office, to in excess of $15.9 trillion today. But it is misleading to blame all this on the current administration. While the stimulus has contributed to the debt so, too, have the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that began under President George W. Bush. Economic recessions, the Bush tax cuts and the Medicare prescription drug benefit that took effect before Obama came into office also have added to the debt. So have spending initiatives approved by Democratic and Republican lawmakers prior to Bush's tenure.

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