On Sunday, Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was confronted by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace over having made the false claim that President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan will create 19 million more jobs. Wallace directly confronted Buttigieg, snapping, “Why mislead folks?”
Wallace started by saying he was offering a fact-check of how the Biden administration was “selling this plan,” adding, “You all like to say that U.S. infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world,” then citing Washington Post reporter Charles Lane noting that the claim included small countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, while among the ten largest countries geographically in the world, including China and Russia, the United States ranked first in infrastructure.
Wallace asked Buttigieg, “Why not be straight about the conditions in the U.S. to the American people?”
Buttigieg replied, “Well, the American people already know our infrastructure needs a lot of work. … The American Society of Civil Engineers rates our infrastructure. We’ve been getting a lot of Cs and Ds.” There is “extraordinary Republican and Independent and Democratic support for this package among the American people,” Buttigieg claimed.
“Not necessarily in Congress, however,” Wallace pointed out. “I want to give you another fact check: All of you in the Biden administration have been selling this plan as a huge jobs creator. Here you are last Sunday.”
Wallace then played a clip of Buttigieg appearing on NBC’s “Meet The Press” and claiming, “The American jobs plan is about a generational investment. It’s gonna create 19 million jobs and we’re talking about economic growth that’s gonna go on years and years.”
Wallace noted, “But it turns out the study you’re citing from Moody’s Analytics 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. Again, Secretary Buttigieg, why mislead folks?”
Buttigieg answered, “You’re right. I should have been more precise. The 19 million jobs that’ll be created are more than the jobs that will be created than if we don’t do the plan,” adding, “And it’s very important to make this point.”
Wallace interjected, “Right. But two million. Two million, not 19 million.”
Buttigieg then deflected from his original refuted claim, saying, “As you just showed us, Moody’s is saying we will create 2.7 million — yeah, exactly. It’ll create 2.7 million [fewer] jobs if we don’t do it.” Then he claimed, “And that’s very important because there are people and others saying with a straight face that this would somehow reduce the number of jobs.”
Buttigieg again repeated the Moody’s projection, despite Wallace having just stated it, asserting, “In fact, at least according to that Moody’s analysis, 2.7 million additional jobs, if, in fact, we pass this package. Just further proof that it’s good for the economy, and taken as a whole, it’s going to add jobs compared to doing nothing.”
Wallace again pressed Buttigieg, “But would you agree that you and the president and Brian Deese, the economic advisor on this program last week, you all exaggerated the jobs impact?”
Buttigieg wouldn’t admit that, instead replying, “Look, there are a lot of analyses about just how many jobs this is going to create,” citing a Georgetown study.
But Wallace fired back, “But Mr. Secretary, you’re the one who cited Moody’s Analytics as 19 million, and it’s actually 2.7 million, which is a bunch, but it’s not what you said.”
Buttigieg then repeated that in the future he needs to be more “precise”: “It’s part of a scenario that Moody says will create 19 million jobs, but the bottom line is it’s going to add jobs and this is a direct refutation of people who are saying otherwise. So yeah, you’re right, I should be very precise. The difference in jobs that that particular analysis suggests is 2.7 million more. That is a great place to be.”
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