Is White House Press Secretary Jay Carney right?

Below is from today’s White House Press Secretary (Jay Carney) briefing of the press.  Read below and see if Carney is correct in your view.

Jake [Tapper of ABC NEWS]


Q The President has talked about — I know there’s a lot in the speech that we don’t know about, but it does seem like infrastructure spending is going to be part of it; he’s mentioned it several times, including yesterday. There obviously were hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure spending in the stimulus bill, and while that bill may have stemmed the bleeding, it obviously did not prompt the kind of economic recovery that the President had hoped. Why would a new round of infrastructure spending have a different effect?


MR. CARNEY: I think your analysis of the Recovery Act — hundreds of billions I think may be overstating the amount of actual infrastructure spending. But the — remember, what a lot of people don’t know, it wasn’t widely reported, is that a third of the Recovery Act — fully a third — was tax cuts. And then —


Q That’s still $550 billion —


MR. CARNEY: And then assistance to states and — there were a lot of different components of it. Hundreds of —


Q — will get us a number.


MR. CARNEY: We’ll get that for you. But the point is, what is uncontestable is that those infrastructure projects that were funded by the Recovery Act were very well managed, came in on budget or under budget and led to the creation of many, many jobs by an outside, independent analyst.


I mean, broadly, the Recovery Act, I think it was over 3 million jobs — created or supported over 3 million jobs — created or saved over 3 million jobs. If you’re asking me, did it fill the hole created by 8 million jobs lost, the answer is no, because 8 million jobs is more than the 3 million that the Recovery Act created or saved. That’s how dire the situation was that we encountered when the President was sworn into office.


What it definitely did was, together with the other initiatives the President took in conjunction with Congress, is prevented us from falling into a Great Depression and began the slow but steady road to recovery, which has led to more than 2 million private sector jobs created in the last 18 months and economic growth rather than economic contraction. Nobody is arguing that the growth we’ve seen this year is anywhere near robust enough or that the job creation we’ve seen is enough.


But even this year, there have been a million private sector jobs created. And we certainly think that the initiatives taken — put forward by the President, taken up by Congress and passed — had a lot to do with that.