President Obama is promising to create more than 600,000 new jobs this summer by accelerating some of the $787 billion economic stimulus spending Congress approved earlier in February. But even that employment boost won't offset the more than 1.6 million jobs lost since then. The losses have pushed unemployment to 9.4 percent, the highest since 1983. (Los Angeles Times)
What the commentators said
Stimulus spending works, said Katrina vanden Heuvel in The Nation. We're just not spending with enough vigor. "In the absence of consumer spending and business investment, the government must step in and use these deficits in order to avert a depression." So we need to spend the package already approved and add a second round of stimulus money before it's too late.
Not so fast, said Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. The economy is still terrible, but it's getting better. Obama should hold off against the growing cry for a second stimulus bill, at least until there's proof that the first stimulus package is doing some good.
The original stimulus certainly hasn't delivered so far, said Brett Blackledge in Townhall. True, most of the money hasn't been spent yet. But Obama always said the effects would only kick in over time, and the 9.4 percent unemployment rate is considerably worse than the 8 percent unemployment the White House predicted. No wonder Republicans are "slamming" the stimulus "as a big government program that ultimately will do little for recovery."