Tim Geithner on Meet the Press
PAT: What did Tim say?
STU: Well, I believe as Glenn pointed out yesterday, scattered showers of journalism
STU: have been appearing all over.
PAT: It's kind of weird.
STU: And I believe David Gregory might fit in here. He pressed Tim Geithner pretty hard.
PAT: Wait a minute. David Gregory broke out into a scattered shower of journalism?
STU: Yes. It's shocking.
STU: It's absolutely stunning.
PAT: It is.
STU: This is audio from Meet the Press this weekend.
GREGORY: Could you have had more impact if more of that money were paid out? You still have about $500 billion of the stimulus that has not been paid out yet? How long will it take to get paid out?
GEITHNER: Actually again it was designed to pay out over two years because we knew it was going to take a long time to repair the damage we started with earlier this year. So it was designed to pay out over this period of time and I think it's actually delivering better results sooner than we would expect. I think we
STU: Stop for a second. It's Pat, I don't know if you heard that. Better results sooner than they would have expected.
PAT: Better results. And even sooner than they would have expected.
STU: Right. So what is the first thing that pops into your mind?
PAT: For the better results?
STU: For the better results than they may have expected sooner.
PAT: Well, 10% unemployment springs immediately to mind.
STU: I think everyone who's watching it says, hey, dude, you had that graph you showed us where unemployment didn't go over 8% and it didn't go over 9% even if they did nothing.
PAT: We had to pass it in the next 15 minutes.
PAT: Or unemployment could conceivably be 8%.
STU: And we all saw that thing.
STU: We were there, and we saw it on TV and on the Internet. We know what you expected. You told us in advance what you expected. But you're watching David Gregory. You are probably not thinking he would ring such a thing up. Am I correct?
STU: You are correct.
PAT: Listen in.
GEITHNER: Better results sooner than we would expect. I think we're seeing better outcomes in the financial sector and he economy than any of us would have thought when we sat there with the president in Chicago at the end of last year.
VOICE: Well, but that's not exactly true because the president's seem said you keep unemployment to 8% if you didn't have the stimulus.
GEITHNER: Right, but unemployment is worse than almost everybody expected.
PAT: Well, the unemployment.
STU: It's working better than we expected except for unemployment.
PAT: Except for nobody has a job. Okay, other than that.
STU: The economy is literally a dream world, where milk shake waterfalls are all over the place. You could just pick up any flower and it's made of candy.
PAT: And to enjoy this marvelous you don't need a job.
STU: No. With the exception of the jobs, then your economy is perfect.
STU: Luckily money falls from the sky all the time.
PAT: It does. It does.
STU: In new America. All right, this is Clip Number 2 here and I mean, Geithner just keeps going.
VOICE: Let's talk about claims of success about jobs. The White House says 640,000 jobs have been created or saved by the $800 billion stimulus.
STU: Hold on a second. This is interesting because this is their claim. 600,000 jobs have been created by the stimulus so far.
PAT: Or saved.
STU: Sorry, or saved. Created
PAT: You can't forget the saved category because that's an important one.
STU: It's really important. This is the latest breakdown here. If you take the administration at its word, the stimulus package has created 640,329 jobs.
PAT: It's created that many?
STU: Or saved.
PAT: Or saved.
STU: With the $207.3 billion of the stimulus money spent so far, that works out to $323,749 per job.
PAT: Per job? That's created or saved?
STU: Yes. And this is their bragging number. This is the number that no one in their right mind could possibly believe. This is their front page advertising. This is, you know, this is, you're going to lose weight while you sleep. It's the equivalent of that. And it's still that crappy at $323,000 per job.
PAT: So does he push him on that?
STU: He does a little.
PAT: Or is he done?
GREGORY: There are Republicans who say the number is bogus, that it's just PR. John Boehner, leader of the Republicans in the House as you well know circulated a quote from an economist at Carnegie Mellon University and I'll put it up on the screen and you can look at it. One can search economic textbooks forever without finding a concept called jobs saved. It doesn't exist for good reason.
PAT: No way!
GREGORY: How can anyone know that his or her job has been saved? You've got a lot of experience in the economy. Is this PR or fact?
GEITHNER: This is fact.
PAT: This is fact.
GEITHNER: Again, when the president took office, this economy was falling at the rate of 6 1/2% an annual rate per year.
PAT: 700,000 jobs a day.
GEITHNER: Fastest rate in decades.
PAT: Practically a minute.
GEITHNER: We were losing three quarters of a million jobs a month. Now, the pace of job loss has slowed dramatically.
PAT: Nancy Pelosi said 500 million a month.
GEITHNER: The economy's now growing again. It's growing not just because the effects of the Recovery Act. Many people opposed the Recovery Act, said it wasn't going to work. It's working.
PAT: It's working.
GEITHNER: It should produce. The average American has saved almost 35% since the beginning of the year. Interest rate's down
PAT: I can't take it anymore.
GEITHNER: And they are delivering what they are designed to deliver.
STU: There's more journalism coming up.
PAT: Really okay.
GREGORY: How do you measure that?
GEITHNER: It's not something economists recognize as actual fact.
STU: It's not something an economist recognizes as actual fact.
PAT: Have you noticed this scattered shower of journalism started breaking out when Fox News began getting assailed.
STU: Yeah, yeah.
PAT: This started about a month ago when the White House said a month ago Fox News was not a legitimate news service, we don't want them included, we don't want you to think like they do, we don't want you to will follow up on the stories they are following up on. We don't want you to even look at Fox News. And maybe that, maybe that sent a shock wave.
PAT: Through their journalistic sensibilities. Maybe, boy, if we don't act now, we're not going to be able to.