One Year After the Recovery Act…

With the Democrats facing a tough mid-term battle, the Obama Administration is doing their best to highlight the legislative achievements that the Dems have won over the past two years.

Today, Vice President Biden put outs a report that illustrates the progress that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (aka ARRA, Recovery Act and the stimulus package/biIl) has made over this past year.

Since there is still so much confusion around the effectiveness of the Recovery Act, I decided to use this space to summarize some of the key improvements and impacts of the stimulus bill, with the help of The Washington Post, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP):

  • Vice President Biden’s report has noted that the Administration had spent 70% of the act’s original $787 billion, it has been diligent in getting the funding into the hands of those who are creating jobs.
  • Even with efficient spending, stimulus grants and contracts have been relatively free of the fraud charges that routinely plague governement programs. Only two percent of awards under the program have received complaints.
  • Although the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a crude measure of the economic wellbeing of people, it is still one of the most popular wealth indicators used all over the world (Here is some more info). According to CBPP, our GDP would have been lower without the Recovery Act:
    ARRA vs no-ARRA: GDP
    • According to the Congressional Budget Office and the Council of Economic Advisors, ARRA has created/saved approximately 2 million jobs over this past year.
    • CBPP has also calculated that without the Recovery Act, the unemployment rate would be much higher than the 9.6% we are seeing right now:
    ARRA vs no-ARRA: Unemployment Rate

    Furthermore, and this is usually the provision that has been ignored, the Recovery Act has provided funding for the TANF Emergency Fund, which is a program that has helped 37 states provide 250,000 subsidized jobs for unemployed parents and youth to weather the economic recession. Unfortunately, with a Senate unwilling to reauthorize the program, the funding ended yesterday (September 30) and many of these jobs will be terminated due to this ill-informed inaction.

    It is true, the Recovery Act did not “solve” the economic crisis, and bring our economy back to pre-crisis levels. However, without it, our economic situation would be a lot worse than it is now. If anything, these highlights illustrate that more stimulus would probably lead to a more robust economic recovery.

    People should also keep in mind that ARRA was passed last year without much Republican support in the Senate, and without any Republican support in the House.

    So should we really be handing the keys of Congress back to the GOP, who have been strongly opposing the stimulus since the very beginning?