President Obama defended the economic stimulus package on Wednesday, a year to the day after he signed it into law, saying that the $787 billion bill had created or saved as many as 2 million jobs. Republicans responded by calling the stimulus a colossal waste of taxpayer money that failed to stop unemployment from rising. Is Obama using fuzzy math to defend the stimulus, or did it really put 2 million Americans to work? (Watch a Fox Business report about the stimulus's job creation)
Obama's math doesn't add up: The White House claimed a year ago that the stimulus would create 3.3 million jobs, says Brian M. Riedl in the New York Post. "Since then, the nation has lost more than 3 million jobs" — a 6.3 million jobs gap. It's pure fantasy for Obama to try to spin those numbers and say this wasteful spending was a success.
The stimulus succeeded. Without it, the economy would worse: If the stimulus hadn't been passed, says David Leonhardt in The New York Times, 2 million people who now have jobs would instead be unemployed. Sure, the program had its flaws. But the ones who say we'd be no worse off without it are the ones playing tricks with the numbers.
"Judging stimulus by job data reveals success"
There were smarter ways to spend our billions: The question isn't whether this "bad, bad" spending spree did the economy some good, says Matthew Continetti in The Weekly Standard. It's whether this stimulus package was the best way to promote economic growth, and it most certainly was not. We would be better off if we hadn't paid such high "long-term costs for such meager short-term gains."
Obama's Republican critics are hypocrites: Republicans tried to kill the stimulus last year, says Lee Fang in Think Progress, and they love to trash it now. But 100 GOP lawmakers, in the House and Senate, have then returned "to their home states to claim credit for popular stimulus programs," from infrastructure projects to education grants. Isn't it hypocritical to claim the components of the stimulus are fine, but the package as a whole is a "failure"?
"After voting to kill recovery, 110 GOP lawmakers tout its success, ask for more money"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- Capitalism isn't a cure-all for Cuba
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
Subscribe to the Week