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A Year of Stimulus

February 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

As you’ve probably heard, today is the one year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — the Stimulus — being signed into law. The bill injected $787 billion into the economy through tax cuts and new spending to spur job creation, boost the housing market and stabilize state budgets.

There’s a bit of a spin war happening today, with Republicans noting that, a year after the bill’s becoming law, the unemployment has risen 10 percent and seems to be stuck there. “Where are the jobs?,” House Minority Leader John Boehner [R, OH] asks in a report issued by his office today.

The White House is pushing its own analysis of the stimulus. Even though the stimulus wasn’t able to completely stem the tide of the job losses that were hammering the country due to fallout from the financial crisis, it successfully, reversed the trend so that fewer and fewer jobs were being lost each month. Using monthly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are distributing a chart that shows a sharp shift in the rate of job losses in the U.S. economy that began shortly after the stimulus became law:

David Leonhardt has a good article on the stimulus’ successes and failures, by the numbers, in the New York Times today:

Imagine if, one year ago, Congress had passed a stimulus bill that really worked.

Let’s say this bill had started spending money within a matter of weeks and had rapidly helped the economy. Let’s also imagine it was large enough to have had a huge impact on jobs — employing something like two million people who would otherwise be unemployed right now.

If that had happened, what would the economy look like today?

Well, it would look almost exactly as it does now. Because those nice descriptions of the stimulus that I just gave aren’t hypothetical. They are descriptions of the actual bill.

Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.
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  • craines 02/17/2010 7:32am

    The American Public will believe what ever Fox News tells them. Regardless
    of any fact finding missions anyone puts in front of them. The reason the
    10% unemployment is because this crisis was worse than they anticipated.

    But the republican party will say the bill didn’t work, even thought they claimed credit for the job projects that were started in there states even though they did not vote for the bill, most people do not know this fact.

    If they can keep that perception in the public’s minds they will get more seats back.

    Maybe that would be a good thing, then they could shoulder some of the


  • EveT 02/17/2010 9:23am

    Please, I wish you would avoid the ungrammatical phrase “one-year anniversary.” It is the first anniversary, or the one-year mark. “One-year anniversary” is redundant. Next time please avoid it. Thanks!

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