Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fact-Checking Stimulus Claims comments on the claims about the stimulus package made by its Democratic supporters

*Obama claims the bill will create or save 3.5 million jobs as estimated by three independent economists. However, these economists say their estimates contain great uncertainty.

* Obama claims that the bill will result in health records being completely electronic in five years and that this will save billions of dollars. Experts are somewhat doubtful about both claims.

and Republican critics.

*Money claimed to be for "remodeled federal offices" is mostly designated for upgrading buildings to "green" status through such things as thicker insulation and highly efficient lighting, not new drapes or paneling.

*A widely repeated claim that $8 billion is set aside for a "levitating train" to Disneyland is untrue. That total is for unspecified high-speed rail projects, and some of it may or may not end up going to a proposed 300-mph "maglev" train connecting Anaheim, Calif., with Las Vegas.

*There's no money in the bill specified for butterfly parks, Frisbee golf courses or water slides, despite a GOP congressman's claim that the bill "will fund" those projects. He culled those silly-sounding items from a list of 18,750 city projects that the U.S. Conference of Mayors cobbled together as examples of "shovel-ready" projects. remains an invaluable non-partisan tool in separating the wheat from the chaff in political rhetoric.

--Ballard Burgher

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