"On Stimulus Anniversary, Republicans Jeer While Analysts Cheer"
Today, marks the one year anniversary of the day that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, i.e the stimulus package) was signed into law. So of course, Republicans are marking the occasion by lambasting the act and continuing to falsely claim that it has done nothing to reverse the country’s economic freefall:
– Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN): One year later, one thing is clear: the stimulus bill has failed. One year later, not one net job has been created as unemployment rose from 7.6 percent to nearly 10 percent nationwide. Mr. President, millions of Americans are asking, ‘where are the jobs?’
— Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): 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.
— Rep. John Boehner (R-OH): Americans are asking ‘where are the jobs’ but all they are getting from Washington Democrats is more government, more borrowing, and more debt piled on the backs of our kids and grandkids.
— Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): It’s been a year, and the President and Speaker Pelosi are still trumpeting a stimulus program that most Americans intrinsically know has failed to achieve the goals that were set for it.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee even put together a web video about the stimulus “boondoggle.” But as the New York Times’ David Leonhardt pointed out today, independent analyses tell a quite different story. “Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com. 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,” Leonhardt wrote. “The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.”
The economy also expanded at an inflation-adjusted annual rate of 5.7 percent last quarter, much of which can be attributed to the stimulus package.
And of course, as Lee Fang has exhaustively documented, Republicans are not so down on the stimulus when it comes to money sent to their home states and districts. In fact, 110 Republican lawmakers — more than half of the GOP caucus — are “guilty of stimulus hypocrisy.” These include McConnell, who has returned to Kentucky to brag about stimulus projects, and Cantor, who has hosted job fairs populated by stimulus recipients looking to hire.
So the stimulus is doing exactly what it was projected to do, albeit in a worse economy than proponents were predicting at the time. And possibly the worst result of the GOP’s steady stream of misinformation is that it has clouded public perception (with just 6 percent of Americans believing that it has created jobs), which is imperiling new job creation efforts. As of right now, the bills before the Senate are nowhere near ambitious enough to deal with unemployment that is still too high.