WASHINGTON - When Congressman Paul Ryan has been asked the past few years about the value of stimulus to the sagging economy and the nation's jobless, the Wisconsin Republican has dismissed it as meaningless, and dubbed it "sugar-high economics."

But that's when President Obama is pushing for the spending. When it was President George W. Bush arguing for more stimulus to boost a slow economy in the early 2000s, Ryan's economic analysis was entirely different.
"What we're trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed," Ryan said, in comments unearthed by MSNBC's "Up with Chris Hayes" and provided to HuffPost. "What we're trying to accomplish is to pass the kinds of legislation that when they've passed in the past have grown the economy and gotten people back to work."
Video of the comments will be aired at 8:00 a.m. Sunday on MSNBC.
"In recessions unemployment lags on well after a recovery has taken place," Ryan accurately noted in 2002.
Conservatives have routinely mocked Vice President Joe Biden for arguing that in order to reduce the deficit in the long run, the government needs to spend more now; that sentiment is lampooned in a recent pro-Republican campaign ad. But Biden's analysis -- that the government needs to juice the economy to promote growth, or else revenue will fall long term -- is one that Ryan himself articulated cogently back when the GOP was urging stimulus. Ryan called such stimulus a "constructive answer" worked out on "a bipartisan basis." Opponents of stimulus, Ryan said, ought to "drop the demagoguery."
"We've got to get the engine of economic growth growing again because we now know, because of recession, we don't have the revenues that we wanted to, we don't have the revenues we need, to fix Medicare, to fix Social Security, to fix these issues. We've got to get Americans back to work. Then the surpluses come back, then the jobs come back. That is the constructive answer we're trying to accomplish here on, yes, a bipartisan basis. I urge members to drop the demagoguery and to pass this bill to help us work together to get the American people back to work and help those people who've lost their jobs," Ryan said.
Bush's stimulus, which included an extension of jobless benefits and resulted in checks being mailed to millions of Americans, was signed in March 2002.