Slow Joe Biden’s Subpar Saturday: Part 2 — The Slippery Growth Assertion

BidenAs pathetic as Joe Biden's thin-skinned "Why do you have to be such a smart-a**" comment to a Milwaukee-area custard shop manager was yesterday (covered at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), it wasn't even the Vice President's worst Wisconsin Saturday moment.

A far worse moment, in terms of familiarity with the truth, occurred as Biden rewrote history and unilaterally revised economic growth upward in a speech to Democrats in support of Senator Russ Feingold's reelection.

In a CBS News online report by Stephanie Condon that I suspect will not make it to the airwaves Biden was dour and downbeat, while misstating economic reality:

Biden: We Can't Recover All the Jobs Lost

Vice President Joe Biden gave a stark assessment of the economy today, telling an audience of supporters, "there's no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession."

Appearing at a fundraiser with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) in Milwaukee, the vice president remarked that by the time he and President Obama took office in 2008, the gross domestic product had shrunk and hundreds of thousands of jobs had been lost.

"We inherited a godawful mess," he said, adding there was "no way to regenerate $3 trillion that was lost. Not misplaced, lost."

... Biden said today the economy is improving and noted that in the past four quarters, there has been 4 percent growth in the economy. Over the last five months, more than 500,000 private sector jobs were created.

I have no idea how Biden arrived at his $3 trillion figure; I'm guessing Ms. Condon doesn't either.

One very minor error: The Vice President's claim that "more than 500,000 private sector jobs were created" is false, but barely. On a seasonally adjusted basis, it's 495,000, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The big error: GDP growth has been nowhere near 4% during the past four quarters, no matter how you define "the past four quarters" (compounding was ignored for simplicity's sake):


The 2.5% estimate for 2Q10 is based on the assertion in this Friday Associated Press report that "Economists expect slower growth ahead" from 1Q10's annualized 2.7%.

Biden's economic growth assertion is nowhere near true no matter how one interprets it. If 2Q10 growth comes in at an annualized 5.5% or higher, readers can come back and crow that Biden was really right. Good luck with that.

Stephanie Condon should have known better than to blindly relay Biden's false assertion. Does anyone else besides me think that she would have checked it out if Dick Cheney had said it instead?

Photo at top right is at CBS link via AP.

Cross-posted at

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