Sunday, September 23, 2012

How About That! The Stimulus Package Worked

Democrats have shied away from talking about President Obama's economic stimulus package, due to GOP attacks on it as "wasteful" (even though a number of Republicans benefited from it in their states while criticizing it). A new book, "The New New Deal" by Michael Grunwald, finds that the stimulus worked in terms of jobs, the economy, the vulnerable and investments:

On the most basic level, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is responsible for saving and creating 2.5 million jobs. The majority of economists agree that it helped the economy grow by as much as 3.8 percent, and kept the unemployment rate from reaching 12 percent.

The stimulus is the reason, in fact, that most Americans are better off than they were four years ago, when the economy was in serious danger of shutting down.

But the stimulus did far more than stimulate: it protected the most vulnerable from the recession’s heavy winds. Of the act’s $840 billion final cost, $1.5 billion went to rent subsidies and emergency housing that kept 1.2 million people under roofs. (That’s why the recession didn’t produce rampant homelessness.) It increased spending on food stamps, unemployment benefits and Medicaid, keeping at least seven million Americans from falling below the poverty line.

And as Mr. Grunwald shows, it made crucial investments in neglected economic sectors that are likely to pay off for decades. It jump-started the switch to electronic medical records, which will largely end the use of paper records by 2015. It poured more than $1 billion into comparative-effectiveness research on pharmaceuticals. It extended broadband Internet to thousands of rural communities. And it spent $90 billion on a huge variety of wind, solar and other clean energy projects that revived the industry. Republicans, of course, only want to talk about Solyndra, but most of the green investments have been quite successful, and renewable power output has doubled.


Michael The Molar Maven said...

I shudder to think of what our economy would be without President Obama's stimulus package, which, if I'm not mistaken, was already being formed dufing the administration of his predecessor.

I also wonder how republican candidates have been so successful at painting "the most vulnerable", as Mr. Grunweld calls them, as drains on the taxpayer. It shows a complete lack of compassion and responsibility.

Jeff Tone said...

The Republicans have shown a complete lack of compassion and responsibility for the past four years, ever since Mitch McConnell declared that their number one goal is to get Obama out. Their biggest nightmare is the improvement of the economy.