Economic Stimulus Plan – What Changes Have You Seen?

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At the one year anniversary of the economic stimulus plan President Obama declares the economic stimulus plan an unequivocal success that has created or saved millions of jobs.

On the other hand, critics are pointing out a continuing dismal jobs picture and deflating public confidence as signs that the stimulus bill, as one GOP leader put it, was “fiction” and not worth the cost.

Recent comments from the President Obama include:  “We have rescued this economy from the worst of this crisis…”  The measure “was never intended to save every job.  Businesses are the true engine of growth [and] always will be. But during a recession … what government can do is provide a temporary boost.” The program “runs cleanly, smoothly and transparently.”  “We acted because failure to do so would have led to catastrophe. One year later, it is largely thanks to the recovery act that a second depression is no longer a possibility.”

Vice President Biden stated, “Without any question” the package is working and “laying the foundation” for long-term economic growth.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, “In the first year of the trillion-dollar stimulus, Americans have lost millions of jobs, the unemployment rate continues to hover near 10 percent, the deficit continues to soar and we’re inundated with stories of waste, fraud and abuse.  This was not the plan Americans asked for or the results they were promised.”

There is the rhetoric.  Here are some facts. 

The United States of America owes $1.6 trillion more today than it did a year ago.  The national debt has reached nearly $12.4 trillion, while this fiscal year’s deficit is expected to hit about $1.6 trillion.

In the last year the jobless rate has climbed from 8.1 percent to 9.7 percent.  While employers may be shedding fewer jobs than last year, 49 states saw a net job loss in 2009.  A recent CBS News/New York Times survey showed only 6 percent of Americans believe the stimulus has created a significant number of jobs.

The bulk of the money initially allocated for the plan has not actually been spent yet. Through the end of January, roughly $334 billion in spending has been approved, of which only $179 billion has actually been released.  Another $119 billion has gone to tax cuts.  Now that the economy is no longer in free fall, the mix of spending will change, senior administration officials said. Until this point, the bulk of the spending has been on tax relief and direct aid, such as unemployment benefits.  To date, only $31 billion has been spent on projects such as infrastructure, high-speed rail, broadband and health technology.  

So, if the bulk of the Economic Stimulus hasn’t even been spent, how can they tout that it’s working? 

You tell me – The Economic Stimulus Plan – What Changes Have You Seen?

—Marty Hudson

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