For the right wing in America, a fact is something that gets said enough times on Fox News in order for viewers to confidently repeat it.
That’s why it’s easy to take a lie like “the stimulus failed” and turn it into a right-wing “fact”. Start by callling it “the failed stimulus” even before the bill goes into effect. Then keep repeating that same phrase, even as we go from losing 800,000 jobs a month to creating private sector jobs for 29 months. With Fox News, AM talk radio, and nearly one billion dollars in commercials, mailings and robocalls, you can effectively transform the most effective government economic intervention since the New Deal into some bad gas no one wants to claim.
In his new book The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, Michael Grunwald uncovers the nearly endless list of hidden successes in the bill still called a “failure” by the Bush admirers who still think Dubya’s far more expensive and useless tax breaks and wars were a success:
“The stimulus is producing the world’s largest wind farm, a half dozen of the world’s largest solar arrays, and America’s first refineries for advanced biofuels. It’s creating a battery-manufacturing industry for electric vehicles almost entirely from scratch. It financed net-zero border stations and visitors centers, an eco-friendly new Coast Guard headquarters, a one-of-a-kind ‘advanced synchrotron light source.’ It jump-started three long-awaited mega-projects in Manhattan alone—the Moynihan Station, the Second Avenue Subway, and the Long Island Railroad connection to the East Side…”
The difference between the stimulus and the New Deal—and the reason the New Deal remains more popular—is that the stimulus was passed and implemented during the worst of the crisis. The New Deal came after two years of Hoover trying to balance the budget instead of healing the economy.
But what Paul Ryan—the ideological leader of the House Republicans—never mentioned is that while he and the GOP were bashing the stimulus, and repeating the lie, he was begging for stimulus dollars.