Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Sunday corrected a false claim he and another White House official touted about President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, saying Moody’s Analytics actually estimated the proposal will only create about 2.7 million jobs—as opposed to 19 million new jobs they previously claimed.
Responding to a question from Fox News Sunday’ Chris Wallace about the incorrect claim, Sec. Buttigieg said he “should have been more precise” in specifying that the estimate of 19 million jobs created under Biden’s proposal in the next 10 years is only 2.7 million more jobs than Moody’s estimates will be created without the plan.
“It’s part of a scenario that Moody’s says will add 19 million jobs,” Buttigieg further clarified, acknowledging that the Wall Street research firm estimates 16.3 million jobs will be created over the next decade even if the plan isn’t passed.
The on-air fact-check comes one week after Buttigieg and White House Economic Council Director Brian Deese appeared on three network news shows and in all instances suggested that the plan would create 19 million jobs, with Deese telling Fox News that the proposal “would create 19 million jobs,” and Buttigieg on ABC saying it “will lead to 19 million jobs.”
Officials at the White House and Department of Transportation have since told CNN that both Deese and Buttigieg misspoke.
In a note to clients last Sunday, Moody’s Analytics’ Chief Economist Mark Zandi said that with President Biden’s infrastructure plan, the economy would recover the jobs lost in the pandemic recession within the next couple of years—something he said is “not much different than without the plan.” He estimates that by 2030, the economy will have roughly 161.2 million employed Americans with the plan, 2.7 million more than the estimated 158.5 million jobs without the plan. Zandi, however, also said that the plan “does result in substantially more jobs [by] mid-decade” and that unemployment is “meaningfully lower” with the plan.
“I should be very precise about the difference in jobs that that particular analysis suggests, which is 2.7 million more, but that is a great place to be,” Buttigieg told Wallace on Sunday. “Why wouldn’t we want America to create 2.7 million more jobs?”
Biden also touted the misleading figure, though he was careful to attribute the additional 19 million jobs to the economy, and not his plan. “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 on April 2. “That’s long-term jobs for pipefitters, healthcare workers, those who work in the steel factories and the cutting-edge labs as well.”
What To Watch For
Biden’s lofty proposal is sure to face opposition from both Republicans and Democrats as negotiations pick up in the House and Senate when both chambers return to Washington this week. “I do think that there is an opportunity here for us to come together around a smaller package and by smaller I mean hundreds of billions of dollars that is directly targeted at hard infrastructure,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said just last week.