An article in today's USA Today made several interesting points:
  • In a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, 59% of respondents disapproved of the president's handling of the economy. In the partisan war over the economy's performance, the word "stimulus" has became synonymous with "boondoggle," making the notion of a repeat any time soon highly unlikely.
  • The stimulus was supposed to keep the unemployment rate below 8%. However, it was already over 8% by the time Obama signed the Recovery Act into law. It peaked at 10.1% in October 2009 and stands at 9.5% today. Unemployment would be 11% today if the stimulus hadn't been passed.
  • The fiscal stimulus added $460 billion to the gross domestic product.
  • The Recovery Act's cost is $814 billion. However, if you include tax rebates and some unrelated programs, total stimulus spending will reach about $1 trillion.

So, we spent $1 trillion to reduce unemployment from 11% to 9.5% and that $1 trillion gave us $460 billion in gross domestic product. Great return on our investment, huh? That's like spending a dollar to get 46 cents in benefit.

Note: There were disclaimers in the article that the benefit from the stimulus may be grossly overstated. Standford economist John Taylor says, "I can't find in my analysis that the 2009 stimulus package had much effect at all."

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