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Stimulus Results

10.15.09

It really is hard to know exactly how much of an affect the American Recovery Act had on job creation and the economy overall.  It’s impossible to really know what would’ve happened had there been no stimulus plan.

And while we could sit here and disagree over ideology – should the government have passed a stimulus bill at all? – and over how many jobs were created by the stimulus that would’ve occurred naturally anyway, there really is no point.  It’s wasted energy.  There’s no way to know.

Maybe the bill has failed in comparison to expectations, but perhaps that’s more of an issue with impossibly high expectations as opposed to the bill’s failures.  The stimulus was never going to work overnight.  And it wasn’t going to immediately reverse all of the damage and corruption that caused the recession and unemployment.

And if it ends up being a disaster, after all, we’ll know about it.  This administration stuck to its message of culpability and responsibility  by creating the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which collected data from businesses to account for just how the stimulus has been effective.  They just released the first reports that show the stimulus created or saved 30,000 jobs.  The White House says that total rises to a million jobs when you account for the tax cuts or the increase in unemployment benefits; however, that won’t show up on this report because it’s not possible to calculate that directly.

To me, 30,000 jobs doesn’t sound like much.  Not when unemployment is nearly 10% across the country.  Not when the goal is to add 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.  But, I’m sure those people who got those 30,000 jobs sure are grateful.  I know my brother is working because of the increased spending in the construction industry.  Were it not for those projects created by the stimulus plan, he would most certainly be one of many unemployed tradesmen in Michigan.

I am not an economist, but logic tells me that our economy won’t turn around on a dime.  This isn’t a sports car.  At best we are a long freight train that is still trying to reconnect all the cars and get aligned on the track.  It’ll still be a while before we get back up to speed.

The timetable to recovery is only an educated guess at best.  There’s no real way to know exactly how or when things will turn around.  If anything, this report shows that we still have a ways to go.  But it’s nice to have numbers to look at instead of just having to take the president’s word for it.

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