Friday, February 13, 2009

Making it up? Caterpillar contradicts Obama on new hiring claim UPDATE: MSM now says Owens "hedged"

Like an urban legend, the story that Caterpillar will begin rehiring 20,000 laid-off workers upon passage of the stimulus, turns out not to be true, much to the consternation (I suspect) of our progressive friends who had cited the report as support for the efficacy of the stimulus package.

From IPR:

If I were wearing a hat, I’d tip it to Don Irvine at Accuracy In Media for pointing me to this interesting development from ABC News. For weeks President Obama has claimed his "stimulus" plan allows manufacturers like Caterpillar to stop layoffs and immediately re-hire laid off workers. Obama even traveled to the company’s factory in Peoria, Ill. today to pitch his $1.1 trillion welfare-and-spending plan.

One problem for the White House, however. Cat CEO Jim Owens never said such a thing. While Owens supports the plan because it includes hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars for highway construction and more government buildings, he never claimed he could re-hire recently laid off workers, despite what Obama claimed. Owens even warned Cat will have to lay off even more workers to stay afloat, despite the incoming tidal wave of expensive deficit spending.

Jake Tapper reports:

"Yesterday, Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off," Obama said today in Peoria.

But when asked today if the stimulus could do that, Owens said, "I think, realistically, no. The honest reality is we’re probably going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again."…

…Owens also cautioned that even if a stimulus is passed within the next month, the effects will not be immediate and are more likely to impact construction activity at the end of 2009 or spring 2010.

So the question would be: will President Obama get a pass on this one?

UPDATE: Just saw Today touch this issue in passing, saying that "After the President left, Owens hedged a bit," which is a truly wonderful way to get around the fact that he apparently never made the statement in the first place....


Shirley Vandever said...

Heh. I saw this yesterday. Also note that Owens is a member of Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Delaware Watch said...

""Asked if the stimulus package would be able to stop the 22,000 layoffs or not, Owens said, "I think realistically no. The truth is we're going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again"

"It is going to take some time before that stimulus bill" means re-hiring, he said."

It will take time before the stimulus results in rehiring. I don't know anyone who doubts that. But that it will result in rehiring seems to be indicated by the CEO's own words.

So, Steve, I think you are grasping at straws on this one.

Bowly said...

No, you're definitely identifying the wrong grasper. How can you just skim over "I think realistically no. The truth is we're going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again"?

And even if you're correct (which you aren't), cherry-picking one company that stands to benefit directly from road building doesn't prove the case for the stimulus. A bill that planted apple trees and corn would result in increased agricultural employment, but that doesn't say anything about the overall economy.

It also doesn't explain how Obama either lied, or at the very least omitted pertinent information. He didn't say, "Caterpillar will hire again, but only after they have more layoffs." Let's see him go sell that plan to the public.

Weak, weak stuff.

Bowly said...

By the way, it's the broken window fallacy, again. Even if Caterpillar benefits from the stimulus and hires people back, it doesn't mean it's the most efficient use of the money. It's great for the downsized Cat employees. It's not so great for future generations that are being born into debt.

Tyler Nixon said...

Let's face it, this is Clinton administration II underway in full force.

Hype, bullshit, half-truths, lies, finger-wagging, PR blitzing, partisan chicanery, fatass government, and of course Hillary, Rahm, Leon, and Holder.


Bowly said...

Tyler, I think you left out an administration. Bush was Clinton II. "Hype, bullshit, half-truths, lies, finger-wagging, PR blitzing, partisan chicanery, fatass government" certainly seems applicable.