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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Axelrod Ups the Ante

President Barack Obama’s reelection strategist David Axelrod said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Oct. 30 that “all economists agree” that the White House jobs bill “would create millions of jobs.” That goes beyond the usual White House exaggeration, and is simply not true.

Axelrod, Oct. 30: Obviously the American Jobs Act, all economists agree would have a marked effect on economic growth and would create millions of jobs. We just have to get the Congress to act on it.

Axelrod’s claim is particularly cheeky. President Obama himself has been much more cautious — claiming that “independent economists” say his jobs bill “would create nearly 2 million jobs.” But even that was an exaggeration, as we reported Oct. 18.

The fact is there is wide disagreement among economists about the likely effect of the legislation that the president has been urging House and Senate Republicans to pass. Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics estimated the bill would add 1.9 million jobs. And Joel Prakken of Macroeconomics Advisers estimated 1.3 million additional jobs next year, dropping to 800,000 in 2013. And those are high estimates compared with those of 28 economists who estimated how many jobs would be created by the bill in a survey taken by Bloomberg News. Of those, 28 economists estimated how many jobs would be created by the bill. The median estimate was 275,000 jobs in 2012 and 13,000 jobs in 2013, for a total of 288,000 jobs.

— Brooks Jackson