Biden Administration

Biden Administration Retracts Claim That $2.25 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Would Create 19 Million Jobs

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg admitted the mistake and walked back the administration's job creation promises on Monday night.

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In pitching his $2.25 trillion infrastructure spending proposal, President Joe Biden said last week that if the plan was passed, "the economy will create 19 million jobs—good jobs, blue collar jobs, jobs that pay well" over the next 10 years.

That's a technically accurate description of an analysis of the American Jobs Plan published by Moody's Analytics, an economic forecasting firm. But it leaves out a major caveat: Without the passage of the American Jobs Act, Moody's projects that the economy will create 16.3 million jobs in the next decade.

In other words, the passage of Biden's infrastructure plan would boost job creation by about 2.7 million jobs—not 19 million.

Other administration officials have been more aggressive and less nuanced about selling the 19 million figure. CNN notes that Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, told Fox News on Sunday that the infrastructure plan would "create 19 million jobs," full stop. In making the rounds to Sunday morning news programs on ABC and NBC, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg repeated that claim.

On Monday, Buttigieg walked back the White House's claims during an interview on CNN.

"I should be precise about this," Buttigieg said, before acknowledging that the 2.7 million figure is the accurate reading of the Moody's report. "The point is, this will contribute to a scenario where we create [19 million] jobs, and millions of them are specifically attributable to this plan."

It's good to see a White House that's willing to admit when it has made a mistake, of course, but the right time for Buttigieg and Biden to be precise about the job growth projections was before they got caught in a lie.

And lowering the job creation expectations for the infrastructure package makes a difference on the merits of the plan, too. Spending $2.25 trillion to create 19 million jobs would have worked out to more than $118,000 per job. Spending that same amount of money to create just 2.7 million jobs carries a whopping price tag of $833,000 per job.

Even by the bloated standards of federal spending—and the particularly bloated costs of infrastructure spending, which has skyrocketed since the 1970s—that's an absurd amount. But it makes sense for two overarching reasons.

First, much of Biden's infrastructure plan isn't really focused on creating jobs by building, well, infrastructure. The American Jobs Plan would spend money on everything from community colleges to federal child care programs—that money might create some jobs, sure, but much of it is likely to be plowed into existing programs rather than shovel-ready, blue-collar work.

Secondly, the American Jobs Act does not do anything to fix the high costs of building infrastructure. Biden isn't proposing to do away with prevailing wage laws, which require that federal infrastructure projects pay inflated union rates to workers, and he is proposing to impose expensive "Buy American" requirements for equipment and supplies. The proposal also does nothing to tamp down the twisting of environmental laws by community groups who oppose new construction projects. That's the real driver of America's out-of-control infrastructure costs, as Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, recently wrote for Reason.

Think about it this way: Every dollar paid to the lawyers who will spend years litigating the regulatory approval process for a new highway is a dollar that can't be used to hire someone to actually build the highway. The "Buy American" requirement is more hidden but has the same effect. Every extra dollar spent to buy American-made steel or asphalt is a dollar that can't be used—well, you get the picture.

After piling all those additional costs onto a relatively paltry number of expected new jobs, the American Jobs Act looks less like an economic stimulus and more like a huge waste of money. No wonder the Biden administration was keen to sell this spending plan as one that creates more jobs than it actually will.

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  1. This is known as “misinformation.”

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    1. Yup. Have the Pres release the “fake” numbers. Wait a few days and release the more accurate (supposedly) ones when (hopefully) no one is listening.

    2. At least he didn’t tweet it.

    3. I thought the word was “propaganda”.

  2. 10 years from now they will say jobs saved.

    Democrats expect voters to be economically ignorant. See SPB.

    1. It’ll be interesting to see how many lives are claimed to have been saved or created by the vaccines.

    2. It 10 years, they will call it old news and move on.

    3. Why 10 yrs.? Money is fungible so there’s no way to prove that you didn’t create all the jobs in the first year. If the jobs have been created and you haven’t even begun to spend the stimulus money yet, then the gravitas and magnanimity of Biden’s providence worked better than expected. Hang the Mission Accomplished banner, stroll out onto the deck of the aircraft carrier in your flight suit and fail to remember even three ways your stimulus spending helped the economy. Maybe throw in a quip about giving record numbers of jobs to illegal immigrants to really grind the boot into those filthy deplorables’ necks.

  3. You mean Biden Administration Lied to the American People?

    1. In modern proggie parlance, he didn’t lie. He told you his truth.

      1. We prefer truth over facts.

  4. it doesn’t matter now, no one but Reason readers will hear about the correction so its a done deal 19 million it is and will be quoted for 40 years

  5. Think of all the chauffeur jobs created when everyone is dropped off 2 blocks from work so they can ride their bicycles the rest of the way to look virtuous.

    1. But who drives the chauffeurs to 2 blocks from work?

  6. Spending that same amount of money to create just 2.7 million jobs carries a whopping price tag of $833,000 per job.

    A living wage, indeed.

    1. Really, at that point, they would be saving money by just paying people not to work.

      1. Hence the brilliance of this proposal. It shifts the Overton window enough to make UBI unassailable as a policy.

    2. But over the course of a decade that’s only about $40/hr which probably won’t be a living wage then if they get everything they want.

    3. I volunteer to be one of those 2.7 million “jobs” created.

      $833,000 would make a great investment.

  7. “”Secondly, the American Jobs Act does not do anything to fix the high costs of building infrastructure””

    The left want the costs to increase. You are not going to save money by paying “livable” wages. It will be 2.3 million dollar public restrooms for all.

    AOC once pointed to the price of food at the airport as a reason we can have a $15 minimum wage. Not even the presence of mind to know people call those prices gouging.

    1. Yes, the “living wage” of $71,000 to start and million dollar pensions for teachers in Chicago keeps each taxpayer on the hook for $19,000 year, more than double the price of any other city in the US. It is wonderful for the teachers. Not so wonderful for taxpayers, parents, and kids who have to put up with a woefully substandard education.

  8. I’m sure the Biden Administration made an honest arithmetic mistake. No big deal.

    The important thing is that Biden is improving the economy in the only way that matters to us Koch / Reason libertarians — billionaires are getting even richer.

    #InDefenseOfBillionaires

  9. Yellen proposing a worldwide minimum corporation tax is evidence that Biden’s proposed corporate tax increase will be creating jobs elsewhere than in America. I’m sure many of you work for employers who have moved jobs from high tax states to low tax states. The same will happen with moving from high tax countries to low tax countries. Sure, the bulldozer driver may have to be in the U.S. but the engineer designing the highway can be in India or Malaysia or the Cayman Islands.

  10. good jobs, blue collar jobs, jobs that pay well”

    Just ignore all the scuttlebutt about how we need to redefine what constitutes an infrastructure job, such that it includes daycare providers. This is totally not a bait-and-switch or anything.

    1. Look, he just wants all the Democrats who voted for Trump to know that he cares just as much as Trump did about their stupid little concerns.

  11. That is all democrats can and know how to do is lie their asses off and hope you don’t notice.

    Hell Don Liemon was still defending Biden’s big lie and blaming republicans for Biden’s lying ass. Meanwhile MLB moves the all star game to a state with – similar or more restrictive voting. Denying black owned businesses in Atlanta the chance to make a buck while enriching white supremacist left wingers in Denver.

    1. Hilarious.

  12. >>”I should be precise about this,”

    yes Pete, yes you should.

    >>It’s good to see a White House that’s willing to admit when it has made a mistake

    fuck you for this rookie ball nonsense.

  13. Those ought to be awesome jobs, though. At $83 million/year*job, they’ll be in the 1%!

    1. Or something with a lot of zeroes!

  14. Unrelated question– when are the next midterm elections?

  15. This is just dumb AF = spending 833K to ‘create’ a single job.

    Did Sleepy Joe even do the math?

    1. Math is hard. That’s why he never learned to code.

  16. “How many jobs will it create now, President Biden?”

    “Eleventy billion!”, he said with a grin and a wink.

  17. There will be so many jobs everyone will have two of them.

  18. “Biden Administration Retracts Claim That $2.25 Trillion Infrastructure Plan Would Create Infrastructure”
    FTFY

  19. All we really need to know is it’d create a shit ton more jobs and be an actual plus to everyday Americans compared to the 2 trillion in debt we took on so the wealthy could hoard more money in the TCJA.

    Hell, the recovery from the Great Recession would’ve been far quicker if we had passed it back in 2011 or so but hey, couldn’t let Obama get a win right Republicans?

    1. Funny stuff. You going to be here all week?

      1. Unfortunately.

    2. The government is incapable of creating jobs, unless they hired you specifically and they pay your wage.

      And how much was the price tag per ‘job created’ under Obama?

      Seems like creating a job costs almost a million dollars a pop. Weird, right? That would be enough to retire on for those two million workers.

      1. You’re responding to a retard.

    3. Everything Is So Terrible And Unfair! (tm ) raspy.

  20. Politico had an interesting article that pointed out that energy jobs in the oil, gas and nuclear sector paid much more per hour than those that would be created by solar and wind installations.
    In other words it’s not just ‘how many jobs will be created’, but what would they pay in comparison to those jobs that will be lost.

    1. One question is how many oil and gas jobs would there be anyway? Over the past several years the price of oil has been quite low and the pandemic hasn’t helped any. Estimates are 1M jobs lost since oil dropped below $50 in 2015.

      I don’t think a lot of those jobs are coming back given how many companies have reorganized and consolidated their facilities. Plus when you look over the rig census for 2020 the utilization rate is down to a mere 23% which means that there’s a lot of rigs that simply aren’t profitable and plenty of stacked spares to place in service should prices climb.

      Either way, it doesn’t look good for rig builders, rig hands, or the industry as a whole for quite some time until the extra rigs are used for parts or put back in service.

  21. Not to mention, where will they get blue collar workers for any of these jobs? Here on the beach in florida, restaurants are struggling to stay open, not for lack of business, but because they cannot get any employees to work at minimum wage. Why would any fool work when the federal plus state govts will pay them $675/wk to sit on their asses and post youtubes to their facebooks?

  22. As I walk through the line at the employment ministry
    I take a look at my life, and realize it’s history
    ‘Cause I’ve been on healthcare and welfare so long
    That even my case worker thinks that my motivation is gone

    But I ain’t never voted for a pol that didn’t deserve it
    Me be treated like a prole, you know that’s unheard of
    You better watch who you’re hirin’ and where you investin’
    Or you kulaks and your corp masters might be lined in chalk

    I really hate to trip, but I gotta loc
    As they croak, I see myself in the pistol smoke
    Fool, I’m the kinda party member the little antifas wanna be like
    On my knees at the votin’ booth, repeatin’ CNN’s truth

    Been spendin’ most their lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise
    Been spendin’ most their lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise
    Keep spendin’ most our lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise
    Keep spendin’ most our lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise

    Look at the situation they got me facin’
    I can’t live without hate, I was raised by the state
    So I gotta be down with the woke team
    Too much Twitter watchin’ got me chasin’ dreams

    I’m a educated fool with your money on my mind
    Got a vote in my hand and a gleam in my eye
    I’m a loc’d out voter, online PAC donater
    And my unions is down so don’t make me a hater

    Fool, bankruptcy ain’t nothin’ but a heartbeat away
    I’m runnin’ your country do or die, what can I say?
    I’m 23 now, but will I live to see 24?
    The way things is goin’, I don’t care

    Tell me why are you so blind to see
    That the ones you hurt are I, myself, and me?

    Been spendin’ most their lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise
    Been spendin’ most their lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise
    Keep spendin’ most our lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise
    Keep spendin’ most our lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise

    Power and the money, money and the power
    Minute after minute, hour after hour
    Everybody’s votin’, but half of them ain’t lookin’
    It’s goin’ on in the kitchen, but I don’t know what’s cookin’

    They say you gotta learn, and the government’s here to teach you
    If you don’t learn fast, the government’s gonna beat’chu
    I guess they can, I guess they will
    I guess they frontin’, they I know my life is out of luck, fool!

    Been spendin’ most their lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise
    Been spendin’ most their lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise
    Keep spendin’ most our lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise
    Keep spendin’ most our lives livin’ in the worker’s paradise

    Tell me why are you so blind to see
    That the ones you hurt are I, myself, and me?
    Tell me why are we so blind to see
    That the ones we hurt are you and me?

  23. Tupac was a visionary.

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