Maddow: Extending Unemployment Benefits 'Most Stimulative Thing You Can Do'

Channeling her inner Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow on Sunday actually said extending unemployment benefits is "the most stimulative thing you can do" to help the ailing economy.

Appearing on the panel discussion of NBC's "Meet the Press," Maddow boldly presented a liberal view of economics that only the current House Speaker would be proud of.

"I think that most Americans also, though, understand the basic arithmetic that when you're talking about pushing tax cuts that do mostly benefit the wealthy and you're simultaneously talking about getting tough on the deficit, you're talking about a world in which math doesn't work the way most people think it works."

Indeed, for moments before she falsely stated that Obama inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit.

But Maddow's best remark Sunday had to be, "If you really want a stimulus, do what we -- what's proven to work in stimulus, which is things like extending unemployment benefits...It's the most stimulative thing you can do" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Well, you end, you end up with the situation which again you're back to choice vs. referendum because Republicans, like great strategists like Mr. Gillespie, can argue about how it's all about spending, it's all about debt. But it's not just talking about the past to say, "When Republicans have had the reins, this is what they've done: two wars not paid for, prescription drug benefit not paid for, two tax cuts that mostly benefited the rich not paid for." They put all that stuff on the deficit, $1.3 trillion sitting there as--in a deficit when Obama took over, after the previous Democratic president had handed him a surplus. If you talk about--if Republicans want to run as this fiscally responsible party, it's neat, but it's novel. It's not how they've actually governed.

DAVID GREGORY, HOST: And, David, you know, more on that argument, though. I spoke to senior Republicans this week in the party who said, "Look, sometimes we are afraid that we do take the majority back because are we, as Republicans, in a position to offer a policy for how to grow the economy, to offer real policies to create jobs?" There's a lot of fear out there that, in fact, they don't have great alternatives at the moment to be able to do that.

DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES: Yeah, I, I actually agree with that. I'm a little scared myself. You know, you look at what happened in Britain, the Conservative party took over after a long period out of power. They, they have a real austerity program. They're really cutting spending, putting the country, which was much worse debt shape than us, on a long-term path to some sort of fiscal sanity. I'm not sure the Republicans are ready there, so I'm a little nervous about that. But the question people are going to ask us is, "What did President Obama offer, and are we satisfied with that?" And they're not getting there. And to me the big picture is that if Harry Hopkins, the great liberal from FDR's administration, came back and said, "I'm going to create a perfect liberal moment. We're going to have a big financial crisis caused by Wall Street, sort of; we're going to have the biggest natural disaster in American history caused by an oil company; we're going to have a very talented Democratic president; we're going to give him some money to spend to create a lot of programs." And after all that, it's still not a liberal moment, it's a conservative moment, that makes me think liberalism isn't quite going to sell in this country at any moment. If it's not selling now, it'll never sell. And I think...

MR. GREGORY: But doesn't that assume that this is a conservative moment? Do you assume that?

ED GILLESPIE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Oh, I think, I think there's a great opportunity for conservative policies, and I think the public is open to hearing from us on that. And I just disagree with David. Look, in New Jersey and Virginia, we have two Republican governors just been elected, one in a purple state, Virginia, one in a deep blue state, or at least royal blue, New Jersey, who are acting on what they said they would do, they're governing as they campaigned. In New Jersey, Governor Christie is trying to change the tailspin, turn things around in New Jersey, taking on the government employee unions there. In Virginia, Bob McDonnell as governor eliminated a $4.2 billion deficit, the largest in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia. We will govern as we said we would. And I think, you know, Harold just pointed to these rising capital gains taxes and dividend taxes. You can call them tax increases on the, on the wealthy. I think most will say it's tax increases on investment at a time when we need to be creating jobs. They're going to kick in January 1, 2011. The first thing Republicans will do is say, "No. We're going to keep them in place for a while until we can get the economy growing again." And I think most Americans reject the notion that spending equals jobs. They think spending equals temporary government jobs.

MS. MADDOW: I think that, I think that most Americans also, though, understand the basic arithmetic that when you're talking about pushing tax cuts that do mostly benefit the wealthy and you're simultaneously talking about getting tough on the deficit, you're talking about a world in which math doesn't work the way most people think it works. If you're going to talk about tax cuts--I mean, Harold, you, as a Democrat, proposed some very significant tax cuts when you were thinking about running for Senate in, in New York, a huge corporate tax cut, a big payroll tax holiday, and then said simultaneously, "And we got to get serious about the deficit."

HAROLD FORD, FORMER DEMOCRAT REPRESENTATIVE FROM TENNESSEE: Well, Rachel, in all fairness, the payroll tax...

MS. MADDOW: Tax cuts hurt the deficit.

REP. FORD: Right. But the payroll tax cut--in order to, in order to pay down the debt, you got to do two things. You got to get your spending in order and you got to grow. When Bill Clinton was in office, the real advantage we had was that the economy grew. They made--they took--they made some tough choices around spending. I was in Congress for a good part of that. But at the same time, we had this IT explosion and growth in the country, which created millions of jobs. My only point is, if you cut the payroll tax for small businesses, you keep money in those communities. If you really want a stimulus, cut the payroll tax at a hardware store, cut the payroll tax at a sundry, cut the payroll tax at a...

MS. MADDOW: If you really want, if you really want a stimulus, do what we--what's proven to work in stimulus, which is things like extending unemployment benefits, which is something that Republicans are completely blocking.

REP. FORD: Which I...

MR. GREGORY: But let me, let me...

MS. MADDOW: It's the most stimulative thing you can do.

Yep. She really reiterated one of the most inane statements ever uttered by a House Speaker in American history:

Does Maddow actually BELIEVE that unemployment benefits stimulate the economy, or was she just mimicking Pelosi and repeating Democrat talking points?

Before you answer, consider the absurdity in her other comment concerning Obama inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit. 

After all, on March 14, 2008, then Sen. Obama voted in favor of the 2009 budget which authorized $3.1 trillion in federal outlays along with a projected $400 billion deficit. The 51-44 vote that morning was strongly along party lines with only two Republicans saying "Yes."

When the final conference report was presented to the House on June 5, not one Republican voted for it.

This means the 2009 budget was almost exclusively approved by Democrats, with "Yeas" coming from current President then Sen. Obama, his current Vice President then Sen. Joe Biden, his current Chief of Staff then Rep. Rahm Emanuel, and his current Secretary of State then Sen. Hillary Clinton.

As such, when Maddow says, "They put all that stuff on the deficit, $1.3 trillion sitting there as -- in a deficit when Obama took over," the "They" were Democrats INCLUDING Obama.  

How is this possibly something he inherited when his Party ramrodded the original budget through Congress with virtually no Republican approval -- save Bush's signature, of course -- and the highest members of the current Administration -- including the president himself!!! -- supported it when they were either in the Senate or the House?

Sadly, Maddow's math doesn't incorporate this inconvenient truth.

But that's just the beginning, for on October 1, 2008, Obama, Biden, and Clinton voted in favor of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program designed to prevent teetering financial institutions from completely destroying the economy.

Couldn't Obama only disavow responsibility for this if he had voted no along with the other 25 Senators disapproving the measure?

And what about the $787 billion stimulus bill that passed in February 2009 with just three Republican votes? Wouldn't Obama only be blameless if he vetoed it and was later overridden?

Of course, he didn't, and, instead signed it into law on February 17. Nor did he veto the $410 billion of additional spending Congress sent to his desk three weeks later.

Add it all up, and Obama approved every penny spent in fiscal 2009 either via his votes in the Senate or his signature as President.

That Maddow has the gall on national television to blame this on Republicans is the height of hypocrisy.

But what are you going to expect from a woman that believes unemployment benefits stimulate the economy? 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.