The Washington Times - January 19, 2011, 12:23PM

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday put a figure on how bad the economy would have been without Democrats in control — 16 percent unemployment.

“We prevented the country from falling into a Depression – Democrats took courageous votes to do so. Though some paid a price, they showed real political courage – and those courageous votes prevented the unemployment rate from reaching 16%!” Mrs. Pelosi said, according to her prepared remarks.

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Now in the minority in the House, Democrats are mounting a defense of their actions over the last four years, and particularly the two years when they controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House.

Chief among their arguments is that the economy would have been much worse without government intervention, such as the stimulus, the auto company bailouts and Wall Street rescue.

Even with those policies, unemployment peaked at just above 10 percent, which is a deeper trough than Democrats predicted when they were pushing for passage of their $814 billion stimulus package.

Democrats find themselves in much the same position they were in during the mid-1990s, when they had just lost control of Congress but saw an improving economy. At that time, Democrats said the better economy was the result of their 1993 budget vote, which raised taxes and began to close a deep budget deficit.