Brooks then incorrectly cites the work of economist Ed Glaeser to suggest that there’s no relationship between stimulus spending and job creation. Glaeser finds nothing of the sort—the raw relationship Glaeser reports is that unemployment has risen less where the stimulus was larger (see here for a discussion of Ed’s work). I spoke to Ed this morning and he certainly believes the stimulus created jobs in states across the country.
Current Conditions: The other lynchpin of Brook’s argument is the fact that in the last jobs report, of the 431,000 net jobs created in May, only 41,000 were private sector jobs. In March and April, however, the number of private sector jobs created were 158,000 and 218,000, respectively. Every economist who follows these numbers knows they bounce around, so cherry-picking one month to make your case is just bad analysis (see here for a gaggle of economists making this important point). Presumably, Brooks wouldn’t have made this point last month, and it’s implausible that the stimulus worked in April but not in May.
The average of private sector job growth over the past three months has been about 140,000 per month.
In the old days, this sort of dialogue was carried out entirely in private, and sometimes it still is. But for a presidential administration to jump into the public fray, and to argue the case on its merits and from an equal position, has a salutary effect on democracy.