60 Plus Association: “Tell Bill Nelson To Stop The Wasteful Spending”

A 60 Plus Association ad blames Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and President Obama for a host of economic woes faced by the Sunshine State, but Florida’s unemployment rate and struggling housing market are all symptoms of the global recession that tanked the national economy. Thanks in part to the Recovery Act, which 60 Plus says “failed,” the jobs picture is improving both in Florida and across the nation. Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Rick Scott – not Nelson – held up a program that would have helped Florida homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Florida’s Jobs Picture Is Improving As Economy Recovers From Recession

Over 300,000 New Jobs In Florida Since The Recession Ended. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 8,118,820 people employed in Florida in June 2009, officially the last month of the recession. As of June 2012, the latest data available, an estimated 8,472,184 people are employed in Florida, an increase of 353,364. [BLS.gov, accessed 6/6/12]

Florida Unemployment Rate Has Been Steadily Declining Since Beginning Of 2010. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida’s unemployment rate peaked at 11.4 percent in January and February 2010. As of April 2012, the latest data available, the state’s unemployment rate was 8.6 percent, a decline of 2.7 percentage points. [BLS.gov, accessed 6/6/12]

As Private Sector Steadily Adds Jobs, National Recovery Dragged Down By Government Shrinkage

Recession Officially Ran From December 2007 To June 2009, Making It The Longest Since World War II. From the National Bureau of Economic Research: “The Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research met yesterday by conference call. At its meeting, the committee determined that a trough in business activity occurred in the U.S. economy in June 2009. The trough marks the end of the recession that began in December 2007 and the beginning of an expansion. The recession lasted 18 months, which makes it the longest of any recession since World War II. Previously the longest postwar recessions were those of 1973-75 and 1981-82, both of which lasted 16 months. In determining that a trough occurred in June 2009, the committee did not conclude that economic conditions since that month have been favorable or that the economy has returned to operating at normal capacity. Rather, the committee determined only that the recession ended and a recovery began in that month.” [NBER.org, 9/20/10]

  • Recession Resulted In 8.3 Million Job Losses. According to the Associated Press, “the Great Recession killed 8.3 million jobs, compared with 1.6 million lost in the 2001 recession.” [Associated Press via Yahoo! News,5/4/12]

Bush Recession Was So Severe That Economy Was Still Shedding Over Three-Quarters Of A Million Jobs Per Month Through First Few Months Of President Obama’s Term. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy shed 839,000 jobs in January 2009, 725,000 in February 2009, 787,000 in March 2009, and 802,000 in April 2009, for a four-month average of 788,250 lost jobs per month. [BLS.gov, accessed 5/3/12]

Since The Recession Ended In June 2009, The Private Sector Has Added 3.3 Million Jobs While Public-Sector Employment Has Fallen By Over 640,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 107,933,000 private-sector jobs in June 2009, and 111,317,000 private-sector jobs in July 2012, an increase of 3,384,000 jobs. The BLS also reports that there were 22,570,000 Americans working in the public sector in June 2009, and 21,928,000 working in the public sector in July 2012, a decrease of 642,000 jobs. The private-sector gains and public-sector losses add up to a total increase of 2,742,000 jobs.

The following chart shows the cumulative private-sector job gains and public-sector job losses since the recession officially ended in June 2009:


[BLS.gov, accessed 8/3/12; BLS.gov, accessed 8/3/12; NBER.org, 9/20/10]

  • Conservative AEI: The Public Sector Is Shrinking, But Private-Sector Growth Is Above Average. From American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark J. Perry: “In the second quarter of 2012, ‘public sector GDP’ decreased -1.44%, and that was the eighth straight quarter of negative growth for total government spending, averaging -2.88% per quarter over the last two years. In contrast, there have been 12 consecutive quarters of positive growth for private sector GDP averaging 3.07% per quarter in the three years since the recession ended, which is slightly higher than the 2.8% average growth rate in private real GDP over the last 25 years.” [AEI-Ideas.org, 7/31/12]
  • GOP-Favored “Government Downsizing” Has Been “A Drag” On Job Growth. From the Associated Press: “Conservative Republicans have long clamored for government downsizing. They’re starting to get it — by default. Crippled by plunging tax revenues, state and local governments have shed over a half million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. And, after adding jobs early in the downturn, the federal government is now cutting them as well. States cut 49,000 jobs over the past year and localities 210,000, according to an analysis of Labor Department statistics. There are 30,000 fewer federal workers now than a year ago — including 5,300 Postal Service jobs canceled last month. By contrast, private-sector jobs have increased by 1.6 million over the past 12 months. But the state, local and federal job losses have become a drag on efforts to nudge the nation’s unemployment rate down from its painfully high 9.1 percent.” [Associated Press, 10/25/11]

The Private Sector Has Added 4.5 Million Jobs Over 29 Consecutive Months Of Private-Sector Growth. The following chart shows the monthly change in private-sector jobs dating back to January 2008.


[BLS.gov, accessed 8/3/12; MSNBC.com, 8/3/12]

President Obama Is Working To Help Struggling Homeowners

Department Of Housing And Urban Development: 5.9 Million Mortgage Modifications Initiated Since April 2009. From Businessweek: “While the housing market is showing signs of recovery, many people continue to struggle. Mortgage modifications have been started for more than 5.9 million U.S. homeowners from April 2009 through the first quarter, including 19,940 who began plans in March with President Barack Obama’s Home Affordable Modification Program, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported today.” [Businessweek5/4/12]

March 2012: Obama Introduced “Cut In Fees On Many Government-Backed Mortgages.” According to Reuters: “President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday a cut in fees on many government-backed mortgages that he said could help millions of homeowners refinance, part of an election-year push to boost the shaky U.S. housing market. Under the plan, a typical borrower with a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration could save a thousand dollars a year by refinancing into a new FHA loan, the White House said. The fee reductions would be on top of any savings from a lower interest rate. Two million to three million borrowers would be eligible, although the White House said participation would more likely number in the ‘hundreds of thousands.’ […] The lower fees being put in place would be available to borrowers seeking a new loan through FHA’s streamlined refinancing program, and even borrowers who owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth would be eligible.” [Reuters, 3/6/12]

  • Obama Also Announced Mortgage Relief For Troops. According to Stars and Stripes: “Troops victimized by unfair mortgage practices could see hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments, and other homeowners could see mortgage refinancing costs cut in half, under plans outlined by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. […]Under the plan, federal officials will review thousands of military mortgages started since 2006 for any irregularities. Troops or families who were illegally foreclosed upon would receive at least $116,000, plus thousands more in punitive payments from the banks. In addition, troops who were wrongly charged interest in excess of 6 percent on their mortgages — in violation of federal protections for servicemembers — will be eligible for payments four times what they overpaid. [Stars and Stripes, 3/6/12]
GOP Gov. Scott Delayed Program To Help Florida Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

Gov. Scott Held Up Program To Assist Florida Homeowners Facing Foreclosure. From the Palm Beach Post:“More than $1 billion from a program to help Florida home­owners pay their mortgages is being held up in Tallahassee despite assurances that it would be available statewide last month. The first batch of money from the federal Hardest Hit program – $418 million – was awarded to the state more than a year ago. The money is for unemployed home­owners or those who have jobs but don’t earn enough to pay their mortgage. It can be used to make loan payments for up to 18 months or to bring delinquent loans current. Although a test of the program began in October in Lee County, a statewide rollout is being delayed by ‘very strong mixed signals’ from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, said Len Tylka, chairman of the Florida Housing Finance Corp., which is overseeing the Hardest Hit Fund. ‘To be honest with you, we were ready to start it, but we have to make sure all the governments that we deal with are on board,’ said Tylka, who is president of LTL Builders in West Palm Beach. ‘Unfortunately we are getting so many mixed messages and are in a little bit of a quandary at this time.’ Cecka Rose Green, communications director for the Florida Housing Finance Corp., said the delay is partly because of technical issues with the Hardest Hit website, but that the group is also ‘educating’ Scott about the program. But while Scott is brought up to speed, more and more homeowners are becoming ineligible to receive the money.” [Palm Beach Post, 3/11/11]

“Failed” Recovery Act Created Jobs, Boosted GDP

Recovery Act “Succeeded In…Protecting The Economy During The Worst Of The Recession.” From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the number of people employed by between 200,000 and 1.5 million jobs in March. In other words, between 200,000 and 1.5 million people employed in March owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. […] ARRA succeeded in its primary goal of protecting the economy during the worst of the recession. The CBO report finds that ARRA’s impact on jobs peaked in the third quarter of 2010, when up to 3.6 million people owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. Since then, the Act’s job impact has gradually declined as the economy recovers and certain provisions expire.” [CBPP.org, 5/29/12]

At Its Peak, Recovery Act Was Responsible For Up To 3.6 Million Jobs. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office:

CBO estimates that ARRAs [sic] policies had the following effects in the third quarter of calendar year 2010:

  • They raised real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.4 percent and 4.1 percent,
  • Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.8 percentage points and 2.0 percentage points,
  • Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.6 million, and
  • Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2.0 million to 5.2 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers). [CBO.gov, 11/24/10]

Recovery Act Included $288 Billion In Tax Cuts. From PolitiFact: “Nearly a third of the cost of the stimulus, $288 billion, comes via tax breaks to individuals and businesses. The tax cuts include a refundable credit of up to $400 per individual and $800 for married couples; a temporary increase of the earned income tax credit for disadvantaged families; and an extension of a program that allows businesses to recover the costs of capital expenditures faster than usual. The tax cuts aren’t so much spending as money the government won’t get — so it can stay in the economy.” [PolitiFact.com, 2/17/10]

Affordable Care Act Savings Do Not ‘Cut’ Medicare Benefits

Affordable Care Act Reduces Future Medicare Spending, But “Does Not Cut That Money From The Program.” According to PolitiFact: “The legislation aims to slow projected spending on Medicare by more than $500 billion over a 10-year period, but it does not cut that money from the program. Medicare spending will increase over that time frame.”  [PolitiFact.com, 6/28/12]

GOP Plan Kept Most Of The Savings In The Affordable Care Act. According to the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler: “First of all, under the health care bill, Medicare spending continues to go up year after year. The health care bill tries to identify ways to save money, and so the $500 billion figure comes from the difference over 10 years between anticipated Medicare spending (what is known as ‘the baseline’) and the changes the law makes to reduce spending. […] The savings actually are wrung from health-care providers, not Medicare beneficiaries. These spending reductions presumably would be a good thing, since virtually everyone agrees that Medicare spending is out of control. In the House Republican budget, lawmakers repealed the Obama health care law but retained all but $10 billion of the nearly  $500 billion in Medicare savings, suggesting the actual policies enacted to achieve these spending reductions were not that objectionable to GOP lawmakers.” [WashingtonPost.com, 6/15/11, emphasis added]

[NARRATOR:] Times have been tough in Florida. Almost 1 million out of work. Businesses shutting down. Thousands of homeowners facing foreclosure. But in Washington, Bill Nelson supports President Obama’s policies that hurt hardworking taxpayers. He voted for Obama’s failed $800 billion stimulus, and was a deciding vote for the health care law that cuts $500 billion from Medicare to pay for new government programs. Tell Bill Nelson: Protect hardworking taxpayers. Stop the wasteful spending. [60 Plus Association via YouTube, 6/5/12]