Monday, August 30, 2010

Economists agree: Stimulus created nearly 3 million jobs


The White House says the multiyear $814 billion stimulus program passed by Congress in 2009 boosted employment by 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs and raised the nation's annual economic output by almost $400 billion. A recent study by two prominent economists generally agrees, crediting the pump-priming with averting "what could have been called Great Depression 2.0."

If President Obama expected anyone to say, "Thank you," however, he's been disappointed. In a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, 59% of respondents disapproved of the president's handling of the economy. In the partisan war over the economy's performance, the word "stimulus" has became synonymous with "boondoggle," making the notion of a repeat any time soon highly unlikely — especially if Republicans seize control of one or both houses of Congress in November.


This is the kind of thing that dismays me. The stimulus was not enough -- and it was known at the time that it would not be enough -- but blustering Republicans opposed it and pansy Democrats caved and weasled to a lower amount.

OK, that lower amount probably saved us from a second great depression -- happy about that. But fer fuck's sake, the Dems had majorities everywhere and they couldn't muster up the courage to do what needed to be done? Too bad.

And it is a shame that Obama is getting the blame for all of the economic woes. Sure, some of the blame belongs on him for not doing enough... but when it comes from those blowhard know-nothing fucksticks on Fox, that is ridiculous.

Now the right is crowing about extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy because that will stimulate the economy. Bullshit! I'm tired of hearing the rightwing lie that tax cuts create jobs. They don't! They create more wealth in the pockets of the wealthiest.


Bizzare said...

Ha ha Ha Ha Ha ha! OMG, do you actually believe that load of BS?

Please tell me there are Americans this gullible!

csm said...

What a cogent, well-thought-out response!

Lou said...

"I'm tired of hearing the rightwing lie that tax cuts create jobs. They don't! They create more wealth in the pockets of the wealthiest."

Its not a right wing belief it is economic reality. The rich create the real jobs, not the fattening of the government elephant with government jobs.

You take even more money out of the pocket of the rich, the economy will lose more jobs. It is as simple at that and any economist worth his salt understands this dynamics. I have never seen a poor man create one job.

Since when has it become unpatriotic to make money? Obama has done well along with his entire cabinet. Not many can take 7 vacations in one year and the year is not even close to being over.

csm said...

It is not unpatriotic to make money, Lou. It is unpatriotic to not pay taxes to support your country when you make that money.


Who Pays Income Taxes and how much?

Tax Year 2007
Percentiles Ranked by AGI
AGI Threshold on Percentiles
Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid

Top 1%

Top 5%

Top 10%

Top 25%

Top 50%

Bottom 50%

Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service

So the top 10% paid over 70% of all personal tax receipts for the year 2007. Now that is patriotic duty for ya!

csm said...



Now if the federal government would do it's patrotic duty and stay within it's Constitutional mandate. Fat chance that'll ever happen. And why a government should expect more from the citizenry that it does itself is pure bullshit!

G said...

The problem with economists making this kind of statement is that it relies on a comparison to estimates of what would have happened without the "stimulus." And it's impossible to really know what would have happened. They have to do it by projections because they don't have any hard data that shows what jobs were "created" by the specific money that came from the stimulus.

But let's look at it from another perspective. Let's assume that what these economists said is correct (and I don't think they are). My understanding is that around 2/3 of the "stimulus" has been spent. Let's estimate $500 billion. If we take the high end of these jobs supposedly created (3.6 million), that gives you a cost of nearly $140,00 per job. Since the administration's claims have been that these jobs had to do with public services (police, firemen, teachers, etc.) and infrastructure (i.e. construction workers), which don't even pay half of that $140k, is anyone actually going to take the position that this was money well-spent?

Furthermore, the whole principle behind a stimulus is that you "prime the pump" to get the economy moving again. Well, it isn't moving again. It's still incredibly stagnant.


Actually you were conservative in your estimate the cost of these jobs created, g. Some of the estimates I have seen have it over $200,00 per job created.

G said...

I was intentionally trying to be as conservative on the numbers as possible. Basically, even in a best-case scenario, it still looks ridiculous.

csm said...

Many economists figure that the stimulus was much too small. Have you read Paul Krugman's article today?

I'm sure conservatives won't agree, but I think the Congress and the President's biggest shortcoming this time was that they tried too hard to compromise when they should have just shoved their policies and principles through the system. That way, at least we'd have something to gauge against. As it is, we get half steps and small attempts to attack big issues and problems.

G said...

Um... "[shoving] their policies and principles through the system" is exactly what they HAVE done. That's a big reason why the electorate is so ready to throw out as many as possible.

Incidentally, a couple months before the "stimulus" was passed, Krugman argued that it should be HUGE... along the lines of $600 billion. Congress and the Pres increased that number by around 40%, and it's been a flop. Now Krugman says it wasn't big enough? Any credibility he may have had is gone. He seems to be just making things up as he goes along.