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Did Obama really save millions of jobs?
A new Congressional Budget Office report says it did. But can we trust the numbers?
Job seekers wait in line to be interviewed at a job fair.
Job seekers wait in line to be interviewed at a job fair.
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s President Obama's economic policies face mounting criticism, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday that Obama's stimulus plan may have added 1.4 million to 3.3 million jobs to the American economy in the second quarter of this year. Vice President Joe Biden said the report confirmed the "Recovery Act is working to rescue the economy" from eight years of failed Bush administration policies. But Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO director and leading Republican economist, said the report can't be taken at "face value," because the CBO didn't actually count jobs saved by the stimulus — it merely made an estimate based on computer models. Did the stimulus really rescue all those jobs? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about Obama's jobs' creation)

It's settled. The stimulus helped: This makes House Republican leader John Boehner look "exceedingly silly," says Steve Benen at Washington Monthly, for proclaiming this week that the stimulus "has gotten us nowhere." Economic growth is indeed slow, but, as the CBO makes clear, "without the stimulus, it wouldn't have grown at all." The public may be skeptical because unemployment remained high, but the stimulus delivered jobs as promised.
"Congressional budget office steps all over Boehner's message"

The CBO has no proof the stimulus worked: What "wildly speculative" nonsense, says William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection. "The CBO is not calculating actual jobs created" — it says all that stimulus spending "may have" created jobs, based on the same computer models it used to predict the stimulus would create jobs in the first place. The reality is that the CBO has no concrete evidence that the stimulus helped — it may even have done "economic harm" by saddling us with monstrous deficits.
"America "may have" won 3.3 million jobs!"

Too bad the CBO can't tell us what to do now: It seems clear that we got something for our roughly $800 billion, says Joseph Schuman at AOL News. If you take the CBO at its word, the unemployment rate would have been as much as 1.8 percentage points higher if we hadn't pumped all that money into the economy — that's significant at a time when 9.5 percent of the country is out of work. But the CBO's report also makes clear that the Recovery Act obviously was no "complete cure" for the "moribund economy," so it falls short of qualifying as the vindication Democrats need.
"CBO: Bad economy would be worse without stimulus"

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