OC Register’s Narrow-minded Look at the 2009 Stimulus

President Obama- Costa Mesa 3/16/09

President Obama- Costa Mesa 3/16/09

The Orange County Register has published another one of its narrow-minded looks at the effect of the 2009 stimulus on its fifth anniversary. They write:

Five years ago this week, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The $787 billion economic stimulus package – which actually ended up costing the taxpayers $840 billion – was supposed to grow the U.S. economy, while creating millions of jobs.

Republicans strenuously objected to the Obama stimulus. It “sets up near-perfect conditions for waste, fraud and abuse,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, warned at the time.

Meanwhile, 200 conservative and libertarian economists, including several Nobel laureates, signed their names to a full-page newspaper advertisement declaring, “We the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is the way to improve economic performance.”

President Obama attributed GOP opposition to his stimulus package to partisan politics. He dismissed the conservative and libertarian economists as purveyors of “false theories of the past.”

Five years later, the record shows that stimulus spending was rife with waste, fraud and abuse, as Sen. Murkowski and her fellow Republicans warned in 2009. And, as the conservative and libertarian economists foresaw, the Obama stimulus did not yield the promised improvements in the nation’s economic performance. Read the complete OC Register editorial here (There’s no pay-wall on this one.)

economic_recoveryBut their bias against anything done by the government to enhance the economic recovery, particularly by a democratic president and congress,is easily refuted by from George Zornick of the Washington Post:

Republican animus toward the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, popularly known as the stimulus, hasn’t decreased over time. Today marks five years since President Obama signed the legislation into law, and Republicans from Marco Rubio to John Cornyn are using the anniversary to bash not only the bill but also the very idea of government spending.

It’s important to knock down these conservative claims about the stimulus, which haven’t gotten any more factually accurate over time. And it’s not just a matter of correcting the historical record — people shouldn’t be made to be afraid of proactive government intervention, which the economy undoubtedly needs more of.

  • Gross domestic product and total payroll employment were at historic lows when the stimulus passed, and private-sector layoffs were peaking. All three of these very important indicators began to turn around almost exactly the moment the stimulus passed. (The Center for American Progress has some great charts here.)

  • The Congressional Budget Office concluded that the GDP in the fourth quarter of 2009 was as much as 3.8 percent higher than it would have been without the stimulus.

  • At the end of 2010, there were approximately 2.5 million more jobs in the country that wouldn’t have existed without the stimulus, according to Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com.

  • The bill kept nearly 6 million people out of poverty in 2009, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

Most of the spending measures in the stimulus bill have expired, but the point is that it did what it was supposed to do. For Republicans to simply say “the economy is still bad, so the stimulus was a failure” is a cheap misdirection.

The other main argument against the bill has been that it puts the country too deeply in debt. But critics are wrong again. The stimulus act only exacerbated the long-term budget problem to a very small degree — it added just 3 percent to the budget shortfall through 2050, according to CBPP.

Read George Zornick’s complete commentary here.

The blowhards at the Register seem to never want to recognize anything good done by government.

  7 comments for “OC Register’s Narrow-minded Look at the 2009 Stimulus

  1. Robert Lauten
    February 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    2050 ???
    ” it added just 3 percent to the budget shortfall through 2050, according to CBPP.”
    What % did the “Stimulus” add in 2009?

  2. RHackett
    February 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Conservatives and libertarians biggest failing with their claim of the Stimulus not working is that they never put forth an alternative that has been proven to work.

    They were all clamoring for austerity, when there was empirical data that showed it only made things worse where that strategy was tried.

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    February 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Does anyone at thecRegister have a degree in economics?

  4. Robert Laten
    February 18, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    “Dems Keep Deadly Silent on Obama Starving Americans
    November 5, 2013 • 10:03AM”

    “Already a year earlier, (early 2011) Obama had strongly advised Congressional Democrats to pay for continued teacher-employment aid to states, by cutting the Stimulus Act funds which had increased food stamp payments since 2009. Despite the fact that food stamp use continued desperately growing along with poverty — 33 million needing them in 2009, 37 million in 2010, 42 million in 2011, 46 million in 2012, 48 million in 2013 — Obama had also told Democrats to cut the food stamp funds to help pay for expanding Medicaid, part of his murderous Obamacare.”


    • February 19, 2014 at 6:27 am

      Mr. Laten,

      Out of a personal commitment to the principle of freedom of speech I approved this comment. While I appreciate your right to this freedom, I find it appalling that you use that right to simply lie. If you have evidence, other than un-sourced LarouchePac propaganda, I challenge you to produce it. The stimulus bill was one-time legislation that increased both aid for states to fund teacher salaries and increases in food stamp assistance. Therefore the premise that the President would suggest cutting stimulus funding to food stamp programs to fund teacher employment aid is false on its face.

      If you wish to place blame on the failure of congressional legislation to adequately fund food stamp programs, or teacher salaries, that should fall squarely on the heads of congressional Republicans, not the President, or Democrats in congress.

      You are entitled to your opinions, which I personally find absurd, but you are not entitled to make up stuff and promote it here. I urge you to be sure to separate your opinion from your claims that ate simply untrue. I enjoy the discussion that your commentary sometimes sparks, but I am limited in my patience in approving such commentary as the above wholly false statement.

  5. RHackett
    February 19, 2014 at 4:44 am

    One doesn’t need a degree or understanding of economics when the belief in the pixie dust of the free market can used to solve all the world’s problems.

  6. Robert Lauten
    February 19, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Mr. Prevatt: – Here is a non-LaRouchePac sources:

    Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
    “SNAP Benefits Will Be Cut for Nearly All Participants In November 2013”
    “In August 2010, Congress passed and the PRESIDENT SIGNED P.L. 111-226, which accelerated the sunset of the ARRA benefit (SNAP) increase to April 2014 and USED THE ESTIMATE SAVINGS TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL FEDERAL FUNDING FOR EDUCATION jobs and maintaining a HIGHER FEDERAL MATCH FOR MEDICAID costs. Four months later, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (P.L. 111-296), which reauthorized Child Nutrition programs, further accelerated the sunset date of ARRA to October 31, 2013, to offset the cost of the legislation. As a result, beginning on November 1, 2013, SNAP benefit levels will be based on the cost of the June 2013 TFP, which is lower than the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) levels.”

    That’s what LaRouche PAC said.

    Obama using food stamp cash to fund Michelle’s ‘Let’s-Move’

    Blame Obama and the Democrat-Republican Party leadership.
    They could have repealed the Bush – “No Child Left Behind” and Obama’s “Race to the Top” (because after all children need to eat they don’t have to have Pre-School.) The savings would be available for food.

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