Frank Rips White House’s ’09 Unemployment Prediction

Posted August 18, 2010 at 9:08am

It was “dumb” of President Barack Obama to predict that unemployment would not top 8 percent if Congress passed the stimulus bill in 2009, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank said Tuesday night.

“Here’s the mistake he made: When the economic recovery bill … he predicted or his aides predicted at the time that if it passed, unemployment would get below 8 percent,” the Massachusetts Democrat said during an appearance on Fox Business Network. “That was a dumb thing to do.”

During Congressional debate on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the spring of 2009, the administration leaned on a chart that showed that the $787 billion bill would stem unemployment at 8 percent. Without the measure, administration officials warned that unemployment would hit 9 percent by mid-2010. In reality, even with passage of the stimulus, unemployment surged past 10 percent in the following months and is currently at 9.6 percent.

Frank said Obama’s “false prediction” was impossible to back up because “nobody knows” exactly what effect the stimulus would have had.

“What you should have said is, ‘If we pass this, it will be better than if we don’t pass it,'” he said.