Pete Buttigieg started off well in this Fox News Sunday interview … and then Chris Wallace finished his introduction. “I want to start with a fact check,” Wallace immediately begins, and Buttigieg spends the rest of the eight-minute segment on defense. Not only does Buttigieg admit botching the Moody’s Analytics report on projected jobs created in the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, Wallace forces him to confront the fact that Biden and Buttigieg have misled Americans on the comparative state of US infrastructure as well (via Rebecca Downs):
WALLACE: I want to start with a fact check of how the Biden administration is selling this plan. You all like to say that U.S. infrastructure is ranked 13th in the world, but our colleague Chuck Lane of “The Washington Post” did some interesting research. Three of the nations ahead of us on that list are Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates, which are tiny states and hardly comparable. Of the 10 largest countries geographically, including China and Russia, the U.S. actually ranks first. So, Secretary, not to say that everything is fine, but why not be straight about the actual conditions here in the U.S. to the American people?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, the American people already know that our infrastructure needs a lot of work. That’s one of the reasons why there’s such strong support for the president’s American Jobs Plan.
Wallace then plays a clip from Buttigieg claiming that the AJP would create 19 million jobs, which the White House also claimed from the Moody’s report. However, that’s the total number of jobs that will be created over that period of time, not those specifically created by infrastructure spending. This time, Buttigieg hits retreat — sort of:
BUTTIGIEG: The American Jobs Plan is about a generational investment. It’s going to create 19 million jobs. And we’re talking about economic growth that’s going to go on for years and years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: 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 misled folks?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, you’re right, I should have been more precise. The 19
million jobs that will be created are more than the jobs that will be
created if we don’t do the plan. And it’s very important to make this
point, as you’ve just showed us.
WALLACE: Right, but 2 million — 2 million is not 19 million.
BUTTIGIEG: Now Moody’s is saying that we will create 2.7 million — yes,
exactly, it will create 2.7 million more jobs than if we don’t do it. And
that’s very important, because there are people on this network and others
saying with a straight face that this would somehow reduce the number of
jobs. In fact, at least according to that Moody’s analysis, 2.7 million
additional jobs if 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
WALLACE: But would you agree that you and the president and Brian Deese, the economic adviser on this program last week, you all exaggerated the jobs impact?
BUTTIGIEG: Look, there are a lot of different analyses about just how many million jobs this is going to create. I saw a Georgetown study, I think it said an investment of this type will create or save 10 to 15 million —
WALLACE: But, Secretary, you’re the one who recited Moody’s —
BUTTIGIEG: The point is it’s going to create millions of jobs.
WALLACE: — Analytics as 19 million, and it’s actually 2.7 million, which
is a bunch but it’s not what you said.
BUTTIGIEG: It’s part of a scenario that Moody’s says will create 19
Ironically, for a man pushing infrastructure, Buttigieg ignores the First Rule of Holes. He keeps insisting on digging, until he finally hits an argument to save face:
But the bottom line is, it’s going to add jobs. And this is a direct
refutation of people who are saying otherwise. So, yes, 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, why
wouldn’t we want America to create 2.7 million more jobs?
Of course we’d want to do that. So why not just start off with the accurate number, rather than trying to mislead everyone? Republicans never argued that 2.7 million jobs isn’t a good number, although they argue — correctly — that it’s a rosy projection and without any real indication how long those jobs would last. It’s Biden and Buttigieg that imply that the 2.7 million number is insufficient by promoting the false 19 million overall projection in its place. Now, rather than promote the Moody’s result, they’re having to retreat back to that number.
It’s Amateur Hour. Buttigieg is in over his head, and Wallace made sure he knew it.