‘I Should Have Been More Precise’


Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged he had misrepresented the number of new jobs President Joe Biden’s proposed $2 trillion-plus infrastructure plan would create, essentially admitting he had overstated the figure by around 16 million.

Buttigieg appeared on Fox News on Sunday, with anchor Chris Wallace asking whether he agrees that he and other Biden administration officials exaggerated the jobs impact of the American Jobs Plan.

“All of you in the Biden administration have been selling this plan as a huge jobs creator,” Wallace said, before playing back an earlier interview Buttigieg gave on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on April 4, in which the Transportation Secretary said: “The American Jobs Plan is about a generational investment. It’s going to create 19 million jobs. And we’re talking about economic growth that’s going to go on for years and years.”

Wallace then pointed out that the job creation estimates Buttigieg was citing come from a Moody’s Analytics report, which “says the economy will add 16.3 million jobs without the infrastructure bill and 2.7 million more with it.”

“So it doesn’t, as you said last Sunday, create 19 million jobs,” Wallace said, adding, “why mislead folks?”

Buttigieg responded by saying, “You’re right. I should have been more precise,” before adding that, “the bottom line is it’s going to add jobs and this is a direct refutation of people who are saying otherwise.”

“I should be very precise,” Buttigieg said, adding, “The difference in jobs that that particular analysis suggests is 2.7 million more. That is a great place to be.”

Part of the Biden administration’s pitch of the $2.25 trillion measure unveiled last week is that it would be an engine of job growth.

“Independent analysis shows that if we pass this plan, the economy will create 19 million jobs—good jobs, blue-collar jobs, jobs that pay well,” Biden said in remarks on April 2.

While arguably technically accurate, Biden’s remarks omit the fact that the analysis he was referring to indicates that the economy would create around 16 million jobs without any government intervention.

The numbers come from a Moody’s Analytics report (pdf), which estimates job creation numbers under three scenarios: with no government intervention, with just the American Rescue Plan, and with both the American Rescue Plan and the American Jobs Plan.

The report shows that, without either package, the economy would create around 15.7 million jobs between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the fourth quarter of 2030. That number rises to 16.3 million with the American Rescue Plan, and then to 19 million with the addition of the American Jobs Plan.

The biggest boost from the American Rescue Plan would come at the front end, with the no intervention scenario estimating 1.77 million jobs created in 2021, and with the pandemic relief bill raising that to 4.1 million. The American Jobs Plan would add no additional jobs in 2021, with its contribution not felt significantly until 2024 and 2025, with it spurring around 900 million more jobs that the no intervention scenario in 2024, and around 910 million more in 2025, the report shows.

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