Senator Barbara Boxer Monday hit the campaign trail to tout jobs "created by the stimulus" in California by the Democrats' $800 billion economic recovery package, attracting ridicule from Republican Carly Fiorina's campaign who accused the junior Democratic senator of an "effort to deceive voters into thinking she's actually done something for California."
With the expansion of California's State Route 905 as her backdrop, Senator Boxer insisted "that these stimulus dollars are putting people to work."
But an Associated Press analysis released the same day by independent economists at five universities revealed that stimulus spending has failed in lowering unemployment rates.
While highway constructions projects exist as effective photo opportunities for vulnerable incumbents, the AP's analysis laid bare a truth the White House and Congressional Democrats are keen on ignoring: infrastructure projects like road construction have "not markedly improved the country's broad employment picture."
Despite an unprecedented surge in transportation spending and Beltway intervention, California's unemployment rate remains above 12 percent. Researchers found that local unemployment was largely unaffected, with rates rising and falling "regardless of how much stimulus money Washington poured out for transportation."
Even proponents of President Barack Obama's stimulus package have admitted its failure in stemming the tide of unemployment.
"In terms of creating jobs, it doesn't seem like it's created very many," Emory University economist Thomas Smith said of the spending's shortcomings.
Still, Boxer said on the stump: "All of us are so happy to see this project come alive, and I know that it wouldn't have come alive without the stimulus funding."
"Boxer's timing is perpetually off when it comes to her blatant election year exploitation of the stimulus package to try to bolster her failure of a record for the people of California," Fiorina spokeswoman Julie Soderlund said.
"Timing is everything," she said, issuing a reminder to the press that in Boxer's last stimulus cheerleading foray her facts were "woefully off." According to local press accounts of her last trip to the region in November 2009, Boxer was caught with faulty talking points when discussing those jobs "created or saved" by recent federal spending.
On a tour of the John Moores Cancer Center at USCD, Boxer credited federal spending with the creation of more than 16,000 jobs in the San Diego area. KUSI News San Diego noted those new jobs were the product of a National Health Institute grant, and not stimulus dollars.
Boxer, whose poll numbers have been on a downward trend since March of last year, will face reelection this fall.