— Biden, remarks on the implementation of the American Rescue plan, March 15
“An analysis by Moody’s estimates that it will help the economy create 7 million more jobs this year alone.”
— Biden, remarks at the National Governors Association winter meeting, Feb. 25
“In fact, an analysis by Wall Street’s firm, Moody’s, estimates that if we pass my American Rescue Plan, the economy will create 7 million jobs this year.”
— Biden, remarks on small-business relief, Feb. 22
“In fact, an analysis by the Wall Street firm Moody’s estimates that if we pass my American Rescue Plan, the economy will create 7 million jobs this year.”
— Biden, remarks at a Pfizer facility in Kalamazoo, Mich., Feb. 19
“Wall Street investment firm Moody’s says if we pass the American Rescue Plan, it will lead to 4 million more jobs than otherwise would be created.”
— Biden, remarks on the state of the economy, Feb. 5
You could start a drinking game based on the number of times that President Biden cites a report issued by Moody’s on the economic impact of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The report, titled “The Biden Fiscal Rescue Package: Light on the Horizon,” certainly was bullish on the plan’s effect on the U.S. economy.
But notice the difference between the first quote and the last? And also the subtle differences between the first quote and the others that reference 7 million jobs? In the fact-checking business, words are what make the difference between Pinocchio ratings. So let’s take a look at what’s accurate — and not.
A White House official acknowledged that Biden’s remarks on March 12 were incorrect because a word was misplaced.
Biden said, “This law alone will create 7 million new jobs.” A few weeks earlier, Biden had said the law “will help the economy create 7 million more jobs this year alone.”
In the first case, Biden attributed the 7 million jobs just to passage of the law. In most other references, Biden attributed 7 million jobs being created this year with an assist from the law.
The report certainly credited the Biden plan with having the potential to bolster the economy.
“Assuming that Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan is enacted in full by March, the economy would receive a quick boost,” the report said. “Real GDP [gross domestic product] would jump to more than 7% annualized in the first quarter of this year, despite the intensifying pandemic, and to almost 8% for all of 2021. This is almost double the growth that would be expected without any additional fiscal support.”
Early in February, Biden was precise enough that the actual impact of the law was clear: Moody’s “says if we pass the American Rescue Plan, it will lead to 4 million more jobs than otherwise would be created.”
In other words, without the law, about 3 million jobs would have been added, Moody’s calculated. The firm credited another 4 million to the law, bringing an annual total to 7 million.
“With the American Rescue Plan, employment is expected to increase by 7.2 million jobs between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the fourth quarter of 2021,” Moody’s economist Mark Zandi, the chief author of the report, told The Fact Checker. “Without ARP, employment would have increased by 2.9 million jobs over the same period. The ARP thus increases employment by 4.3 million jobs during this period.”
He added that there are some assumptions built into this analysis: “All of this assumes the U.S. effectively achieves herd immunity by no later than July 4, and that during the coming year there is no other additional deficit-financed fiscal support, and the Fed doesn’t change its quantitative easing or zero interest rate policies.”
Zandi noted that the report was not for the exact calendar year, a detail that is lost with Biden’s use of the phrase “this year.” Zandi said that on a monthly basis, December 2020 to December 2021, the increase in employment due to the American Rescue Plan will be closer to 5 million jobs.
The Pinocchio Test
Biden clearly prefers to talk about 7 million jobs being created, despite once having clarified that Moody’s estimated that about 4 million jobs would be created by the economic relief plan.
As Biden framed his talking point on March 12, his language was incorrect. Biden certainly is more correct the other times he has mentioned 7 million jobs, though some listeners might think he’s attributing all of those jobs to his plan.
We are not going to rate this claim, as the White House concedes the president’s flub on March 12, and most of the time Biden has been in the ballpark. His language on Feb. 5 was the most precise and accurate — music to The Fact Checker’s ears.
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