Fox News anchor Sandra Smith on Tuesday apparently thought she had Austan Goolsbee dead-to-rights on the economic growth claims he made on-air, only for the economist to retort with a fact-check, telling her to “check the numbers.”
Goolsbee, a former economic adviser to President Barack Obama, was brought on to discuss Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s latest tax plan, which features the ex-veep proposing tax hikes on wealthy individuals and businesses.
The interview soon devolved into a contentious debate about the economic benefits of President Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts, prompting Goolsbee to note that many of the president’s promises of wage and economic growth never came to fruition, even before the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked by Smith to “make the case” for Biden’s tax increases on corporations and the wealthy and “why that’s a good thing” for the economy, Goolsbee said part of it is what Biden wants to use the money for before criticizing Trump’s policies.
“But the reason that it’s good for the American economy is we just cut taxes by $2 trillion for those same people,” he said. “And it did not generate additional growth. It did not raise wages for workers.”
Smith interjected, asking Goolsbee to clarify what he meant by the tax cuts not spurring growth.
“I say we did not see an increase in growth before COVID,” Goolsbee explained. “There was no massive increase in investment as was promised. There was no $4,000 increase in the average worker’s wages, as was promised. What you saw was a massive windfall hand-out. It increased share repurchases and large dividend payouts.”
Cutting in to tell the economist they were running out of time, the America’s Newsroom anchor wanted to know if Goolsbee was “suggesting that we were not seeing robust economic jobs growth pre-pandemic” in America.
“We saw significantly slower job growth than the last three years of the Obama administration,” he retorted.
“Whew! That’s a debate we’ll continue to have,” Smith shot back.
“Check the numbers,” Goolsbee replied.
In terms of pre-pandemic job growth, Goolsbee was correct.
Over the final 36 months of the Obama administration, 8.1 million jobs were created. By contrast, throughout the first 36 months of Trump’s time in office, 6.6 million jobs were added—a difference of 1.5 million jobs.