Today, someone sent me this column by New York Times columnist David Firestone and asked what I thought. Here was my response:
I have several issues with this column.
This column only focuses on the tertiary outcomes from the stimulus and not how successful Obama was on achieving what he said the it would do. This is sort of like how Republicans focus on the "freedom" in Iraq today when the stated reason for war was to deny Saddam Hussein the use of WMDs. Obama didn't use saving people from poverty as the main reason for the stimulus. The main reason he gave for it was to create jobs. According to the White House's own chart (see below), we were supposed to be under 6% unemployment by now and we're still over 8%. Here's an updated chart comparing what the White House said the stimulus would do for unemployment vs. where unemployment actually is today:
What's worse is that not only did it fail to create jobs, but the ones it did create cost up to $4.1 million apiece
(according to CBO, which is what Obama used to legitimize the Health Care law when it was before Congress. Congress could have given that money back to Americans through tax cuts tied to job creation (meaning you only receive the tax break if the job is created), and it would have created millions more jobs without wasting as much money.
Also, I think it's interesting Firestone focuses on keeping 7 million people out of poverty, which I recognize is an accomplishment, but he fails to mention that poverty rates in the U.S. (according to the Census
) are at a 20 year high:
"The report also showed the income gap
between rich and poor people grew to the widest in more than 40 years in 2011 as the poverty rate
remained at almost a two-decade high."
So by Obama's own main metric, which was to create jobs, the stimulus was a failure. It's also stupid to blame Republicans for anything when it comes to the stimulus. The Dems controlled the White House and both Houses of Congress (with a supermajority in the Senate, where Republicans couldn't filibuster) when the stimulus was passed and they still failed to achieve what they said they would. On the bright side, the stimulus funded failed companies like Solyndra and now we have cool art work from their abandoned building for generations to enjoy