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Politifact rates Broun Caterpillar claim ‘half true’

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Paul Broun registered a “half true” Monday in Politifact’s truth-o-meter for the claim that Caterpillar would create thousands of jobs in central and northeastern Georgia, due in large part to his luring of the manufacturer to the area.

“I was privileged to initiate the process of Caterpillar moving to Clark and Oconee counties by touting the benefits that our state has to offer and connecting them without he governor’s office,” Broun said last week when defending his campaign from a rival’s criticism of ineffectiveness. He estimated separately the new factory would “create 3,000 jobs here in central Georgia and northeast Georgia. It’s going to be about a $3 billion infusion of cash into our economy.”

After crunching the numbers, Politifact renders a nuanced judgment:

“Broun’s jobs figure is lower than those released by Caterpillar, while the amount of economic impact he described is at least a half-billion dollars higher than the one the company gave. Broun also gave an incorrect description for the region covered by Caterpillar’s economic estimate. It’s for northeast Georgia, not northeast and Middle Georgia.

“Caterpillar’s estimates were not peer-reviewed or conducted by an independent professional. Most importantly, the methodology behind them is not transparent.

“Broun’s overarching point is this: The new Caterpillar plant will bring a lot of jobs and inject a lot of money into Georgia’s economy. But he strays on some of the finer points, and PolitiFact could not verify the methodology used to come up with some of the numbers. His estimates need a lot of context and clarification, even though his larger point has merit. We therefore rule Broun’s statement Half-True.”

- James Richardson