Did Bernanke Say Spending Cuts Wouldn't Hurt GDP Growth?

Did Bernanke Say Spending Cuts Wouldn't Hurt GDP Growth?

Did Bernanke Say Spending Cuts Wouldn't Hurt GDP Growth?

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 2 2011 12:13 PM

Did Bernanke Say Spending Cuts Wouldn't Hurt GDP Growth?

Here are dueling headlines about the testimony Ben Bernanke has been giving. Yesterday, from MarketWatch , after his testimony to the Senate Banking Committee.

House GOP budget plan won't slam economy: Bernanke

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post. 

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And today, from Reuters, as Bernanke talks to the House Financial Services Committee:

GOP spending plans could cost 200,000 jobs - Bernanke

How is the same man saying both of these things? To coin a phrase, it depends on the definition of what "slamming" is. Bernanke doesn't agree with Mark Zandi or Goldman Sachs about the total impact of spending cuts. But he agrees that spending cuts will have a negative effect on economic growth in the short term. (Worth mentioning now: As Rep. Schweikert told me yesterday, if you divide the spending by the number of jobs, these are very, very expensive jobs to create or keep.)

The odd thing here is that Bernanke is saying that a policy will kill some jobs, and it's not being covered, for the most part, like he's saying the policy will kill jobs. Here was the Hill' s lede from yesterday:

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says a plan from House Republicans to cut $61 billion in spending this year would not harm economic growth.

But he's saying that it will! He

by 2-3 percent in the next decade, but wanting that is not the same as wanting discretionary spending cuts. Cutting the deficit can mean keeping stimulative spending and government employment while tackling entitlement spending in the next budget; this is what a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, like Virginia's Mark Warner, Georgia's Saxby Chambliss, and Delaware's Chris Coons.


David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.