A funny thing seems to have happened on the way to a he-said, she-said story for ABC on the stimulus:
“The stimulus worked,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Bank. Without it, “the unemployment rate would probably be closer to 11 percent” and the economy might not have grown at all last year.
Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com thought the nation would be “still in recession.”
“It played a significant role supporting recovery,” said economist Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial.
Not all the economists who responded to our survey agreed the stimulus was necessary.
“Throwing a trillion dollars at anything will move it,” said Standard and Poor’s David Wyss, “but the recovery would be beginning and the unemployment rate nearing a peak” without it.
“The economy would probably be recovering,” argued Jay Bryson of Wells Fargo, just maybe not “as fast as it is.”
They’ve attempted to frame this as a standard piece of “experts disagree on shape of the earth” shoddy policy journalism, but what you’re actually seeing here is that despite their best efforts they can’t find anyone to endorse the standard Heritage/NRO/GOP view that the stimulus is harming the economy. Hoffman and Zandi deem the stimulus vital. Swonk says it played a “significant role” in bolstering recovery. Wyss is sniffy and derisive, but the essence of his sniffy derision is to say that of course the stimulus helped. And Bryson says the economy recovered faster because of the stimulus. Everyone agrees!