Feature

The hidden benefits of the stimulus

You wouldn’t know it from asking the average American, but the stimulus worked.

David Firestone
The New York Times

You wouldn’t know it from asking the average American, but the stimulus worked, said David Firestone. The $840 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been denigrated by Republicans as a wasteful failure, and abandoned by Democrats as political kryptonite. But the stimulus should be credited with “saving and creating 2.5 million jobs.” The “majority of economists agree” that it helped boost the economy by as much as 3.8 percent. It also “protected the most vulnerable from the recession’s heavy winds,” providing subsidies and benefits that kept more than 1 million people in their homes and at least 7 million from falling below the poverty line. Far from being sloppy or ineffective, the program made “crucial investments in neglected economic sectors that are likely to pay off for decades,” including an expansion of broadband to rural communities. Most voters are in the dark about these successes, largely because of the White House’s “muddled and ineffective” messaging. In the end, the key lesson of the stimulus might be: “When government actually works, let the world know about it.”

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