Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner rejected on Sunday claims made by newly-minted Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) that the Obama stimulus package had not created a single job.
"I don't think there's any basis for that judgment," Geithner said on ABC's "This Week." "I mean, again, just think where we were: January of 2009, three-quarters of a million Americans losing their jobs. We have an economy now that's growing again. With growth you're going to see jobs created.
"Again, we already saw some job -- a month where we had positive job growth. But, you know, it's going to take a while," he said. "It took a long time for these problems to develop. They're going to take some time to heal. But we're in a much stronger position today."
Brown's comment was, as Giethner argued, simply wrong. Trackers of the Recovery Act have indicated that it saved well more than 500,000 jobs in the last quarter of 2009 alone. It's also estimated that without the stimulus, unemployment would have hit 10.8 percent (as opposed to the 9.7 percent mark where it stands at today).
That more jobs have been lost under the Obama administration than gained isn't necessarily a reflection of the effectiveness of the stimulus package. Rather, as the Obama White House constantly notes, it is a testament to the severity of the economic disaster they inherited.
But the administration's argument that it stemmed a catastrophe is a lot harder than pointing to tangible gains in the job market. And until those numbers turn positive, the Scott Brown line (factually inaccurate and all) will continue to resonate.