NBC's Mitchell: Does Middle Class Wealth Loss 'Justify' More Stimulus?

In an interview with Republican Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey on her Tuesday MSNBC show, host Andrea Mitchell attempted to use a new Federal Reserve report showing massive wealth loss for the American middle class to promote President Obama's agenda: "Does that, in fact, justify what the President has been saying...about the need for more help and the need for more stimulus?"

Toomey dismantled that argument: "The problem is the President's program has been making it worse. The President got the big stimulus bill that he wanted.... the economic growth is so feeble that we're not even creating enough jobs to meet the demands of the new entrants in the work force....Unfortunately, the President wants to double down on all the failed policies that he's been pursuing."

Not pleased with Toomey's response, Mitchell pushed back: "Of course we should point out that that Fed report only went through 2010. So it doesn't even bring us up to date. So we don't know what the data are from the last two years."

Toomey replied: "But we do know the last year hasn't gone very well and even now, our economy is not even growing at 2%....we're still in a very bad place and we really need to break from these – these policies that have gotten us here."


Here is a transcript of the June 12 exchange on Andrea Mitchell Reports:

1:05PM ET

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: And finally, I wanted to ask you about the report, I'm going to follow up in a moment with the White House, of course, with Gene Sperling. But this report from the Fed which says the recession was so much more painful for the average American family, especially middle income families, than previously thought, and that it wiped out 39% to 40% of families' net worth. Does that, in fact, justify what the President has been saying, and the White House has been saying, about the need for more help and the need for more stimulus?

PAT TOOMEY [SEN. R-PA]: Andrea, well, it's devastating. It is horrendous. Families have had so much of their life savings just erased from this financial crisis and the subsequent enormous recession.

The problem is the President's program has been making it worse. The President got the big stimulus bill that he wanted. He got the huge health care takeover that he wanted. He had complete control of the elected government for the first two years, could do whatever he wanted, and he did. And we are still in this terrible situation where the economic growth is so feeble that we're not even creating enough jobs to meet the demands of the new entrants in the work force, much less putting back to work the people who have lost their jobs.

What we need to do is clear away some of these excessive regulations, bring federal spending under control, because we're on a completely unsustainable level, and that's having a chilling effect on the economy, and take off the table the threat of this massive tax increase. Unfortunately, the President wants to double down on all the failed policies that he's been pursuing.

MITCHELL: Of course we should point out that that Fed report only went through 2010. So it doesn't even bring us up to date. So we don't know what the data are from the last two years.

TOOMEY: But we do know the last year hasn't gone very well and even now, our economy is not even growing at 2%. That is so feeble, as I say before, it's leaving people off the payrolls, it's not creating the demand for new workers that would help to elevate wages and thereby standards of living. No, we're still in a very bad place and we really need to break from these – these policies that have gotten us here.

MITCHELL: Senator Toomey, thank you very much. Thanks for joining us today.

TOOMEY: Thanks for having me.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC