Happy birthday to the stimulus
February 17th, 2011
12:32 PM ET
3 years ago

Happy birthday to the stimulus

Washington (CNN) - February 17th marks the two year anniversary of the stimulus package as well as the two year anniversary of politicians and political organizations using the measure as a political football.

Signed into law by President Obama in February 2009, the bill passed Congress with minimal Republican support. Democrats said it would encourage job creation and promote investment. Republicans criticized the original $787 billion price-tag and argued that it green lighted new spending instead of tax cuts. Thursday GOP groups continued their critique of the measure and President Obama.

"What has been the result of nearly $1 trillion spent on the so-called 'stimulus'? Twenty-one months of unemployment at or above 9 percent, 2.6 million jobs lost, unsustainable budget deficits and an ever-growing national debt," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement Thursday.

"Unfortunately, during the past two years, the $814 billion stimulus effort has failed to produce the jobs and economic recovery that had been promised," a statement from the National Republican Congressional Committee reads.

Democratic groups have been noticeably quiet today, but the president has not shied away from publically plugging the bill in the past. The Obama administration credits the measure with saving or creating two million jobs and Vice President Joe Biden will commemorate the occasion by releasing a lessons-learned report titled "Competition Brings Results" at a cabinet meeting today.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will be on hand to talk about how funding can promote good government and encourage innovation.

"One year later, it is largely thanks to the recovery act that a second depression is no longer a possibility," the president said on the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. "It's laying out the foundation for where we need to go."

White House spokesperson Liz Oxhorn said the act is credited with "saving as many as 3.6 million jobs and lowering the unemployment rate by as much as 2 percent."

"We agree with the experts that the Recovery Act helped rescue the economy in a time of crisis – now it's time to work together on winning the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building the rest of the world," Oxhorn said in a statement.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a web video Thursday targeting vulnerable senators who are up for re-election in 2012 and voted for the measure. The spot shows Democratic senators, including Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and Montana Sen. Jon Tester, touting the bill. The video juxtaposes their comments with the unemployment rates in their respective states.

"Two years of liberal economics have failed America," the ad reads. "Happy anniversary."

In an e-mail, NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said the anniversary "seemed like an important point to look back on what they said then, versus the current economic situation their respective states are in today."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell detailed the pork in the bill as an example of what "the administration meant by investment."

"If you can't cut a turtle tunnel when the country is 14 trillion dollars in the hole you've got problems," the Kentucky Republican said on the Senate floor Thursday. "The bottom line here is that two years after the president told us he was investing in our future here is what we have to show for it: higher unemployment than was predicted and trillions, trillions more in debt."

– CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry contributed to this report


Filed under: Congress • President Obama • Stimulus
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    And unemployment went 2 full percentage points higher than Mr. Wonderful said it would. Abject failure, just like the rest of his "transformational" presidency. Hurry up, 2012.

    February 17, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. JOhn

    Repulcians are such frauds. Yes you made things worse than anyone imagined, how is that a good thing for your party? Recovery has been slow, especially with the Repulcians party fighting against recovery wvery whey they can. Is anyone still so gullable that they think the right WANTS recovery? Things are much, much better than when they created all these problems they are now complaining take to long to fix. The Repulican idiology is what failed here, the complaint that the left has not been able to put out the fires the right started fast enough, is no argument for more gasoline. It was only 2 months ago when the repulicans refused to allow any votes until the $700 Billion dollar tax break for the only people doing well. 1/3 of the stimulus was the largest tax cut for the middle class in history, something they claim to support. The right has no ideas, no plans, just blowin ginthe wind from one talking point to the next.

    February 17, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. ConservaFascists

    The ConservaFascists criticize the stimulus while someof them were at ribbon cutting ceremonies accepting the funds as if they supported the bill in the first place. You can say what you want about the stimulus, but it provided a tax cut to middle class Americans and prevented the economy from falling into the abyss. If we had let the ConservaFascists have their way, there will be no American Auto Industry. If the stimulus did not pass, the unemployment number will be extremely higher than what it is today. That Cash for Clunkers deal was huge. So in my eyes, the stimulus worked! But back to the story at hand for the ConservaFascists, WHERE ARE THE JOBS???? You're on the clock now and you have to govern. WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

    "If jobs are lost, SO BE IT!" – Weeper of the House Boehner(The Head Fascists In Charge)

    February 17, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. CaliforniaBC

    Okay, were heard the biased analysis from the Republican and the democratic side...WHY are we not hearing independent analysis from such agencies like the CBO??

    February 17, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Git Whitey

    Fair is Fair
    And unemployment went 2 full percentage points higher than Mr. Wonderful said it would. Abject failure, just like the rest of his "transformational" presidency. Hurry up, 2012.
    February 17, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |

    Because 40% of the stimulus was tax cuts. Still think tax cuts create jobs?

    February 17, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Inmyopinion

    I read that huge amounts of stimulus monies went to Didion Milling, Westar, Duke Energy and Dupont yet I did not read that any of these monies were used to create new jobs, hire new employees but were used in purchasing equipment or fixing what is already there. Stimulus monies also went to AIG, Hollywood movie studios, ACORN, etc.... and there are no reports of any of these businesses having created any jobs either. Where are the jobs promised from stimulus monies? I have yet to find an article about small businesses and mom & pop businesses having received any stimulus monies and these are truly the businesses that are the backbone of our country. I don't see how this is Happy Birthday to the stimulus.

    February 17, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    "If the stimulus did not pass, the unemployment number will be extremely higher than what it is today."

    Really, Dutch??? Tell me how you can prove this. Waiting....

    February 17, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    Glad it is going to end. All the stimulus accomplished, was pushing last year's pain, to now.

    February 17, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. OBAMA - One Big Arse Mistake America

    Another day that will live in infamy! The day the largest liberal pork barrel project boondoggle was passed and the country dug itself much deeper into the debt abyss. And all for what? INCREASED UNEMPLOYMENT and a LONGER RECESSION. And unemployment remains at record levels. The ULTIMATE FAILED OBAMA AND DEMOCRAT POLICY.

    February 17, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Dean

    "Democratic groups have been noticeably quiet today..."

    Maybe it was worth it...just to get these clowns to shut up for one day.

    February 17, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. NVa Native

    Just think how screwed up we'd be if McCain and Palin had been elected!!
    Everything would be up-side down – we would actally be broke and fox media would be telling us everythings fine.

    But after the light has been shinning on the Repubs dark deeds and sleazy alliances for a few more months – elections of 2012 will "purge the scurge" of fascism – once again.
    And Obama will dominate the election – once again.

    February 17, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. ART

    Silly Republicans, left to them they would leave you jobless so they could give there rich friends and big business more tax breaks.

    February 17, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. jim

    Fair is Fair, please explain ...

    how much did your boy Bush spend on Iraq WMD?
    Why did Bush borrow 80 billion form China for the first stimulus in the spring of 2008?
    Why did Bush get 800 billion to bail out the banks in the fall of 2008?
    What was the deficit when Bush took office and then when he left?

    And what was Bush talking about in this speech .....

    George W. Bush's stance on housing during the 2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech

    This speech was delivered at the 2004 Republican National Convention on September 2, 2004 when George W. Bush officially accepted the Republican nomination to run for President.

    "Another priority for a new term is to build an ownership society, because ownership brings security, and dignity, and independence. Thanks to our policies, homeownership in America is at an all-time high. Tonight we set a new goal: seven million more affordable homes in the next 10 years so more American families will be able to open the door and say welcome to my home."

    Fair is Fair, please explain what these policies were that put so many people into homes they couldn't afford? Your wonderful boy Bush said it, not me. Of course, millions of people were in homes they could not pay for, which led to the great recession, which caused high unemployment.

    Your wonder boy Bush caused this mess. He took credit in 2004. You must be 2 years old, because you don't seem to know anything before 2 years ago. Hello?????

    Lastly, you like Sarah, don't you???? Ha ha ha. I bet you do! That says it all.

    February 17, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  14. Emerson

    Think back two years and ask yourself that when we were teetering on the brink of financial disaster, did you dare think that we would be in as good a position as we are today. Americans are shortsighted, uninformed and get the government they deserve. A couple of years of being reemed, steamed an dry cleaned by the GOP carrying out the agenda of the reactionay right and libertarian fascists might bring America to its senses and voters may realize that their desire to be wanna-be billionaires does not mean that they are best served by the Republican party.

    February 17, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. U.S. Common Sense

    While it can be argued that the Stimulus package did create and/or save jobs (primarily through creating federally subsidized programs), the bill itself failed to do anything significant in terms of actually "stimulating" the economy. Much of it was spent on artificially extending projects or programs that were outside of the scope of the Federal government, to which the taxpayer now has to pay for. What they should have done is spent it on one or two key strategic programs that are of the national interest ... something that could have led to either long-term independently funded programs or generated technology that could have been integrated into the commercial market, generating a return on investment.

    February 17, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. carlos

    the m....r f...r traitor republiCONServatives........the shameful bastards now they have to admit that the iraq war was triggered by the story of one man and one man alone.......they are the criminal SOB s......putrid minds and rotten bodies.

    February 17, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. vic nashville tn

    2000 to 2006 we didn’t brow money republicans want us to believe
    2008 we didn’t lose jobs republicans want us to believe
    If you create jobs in overseas you get tax break so republicans can’t expect more

    The fact is Stimulus saved many states, jobs and housing market. We will see the effect of stimulus this year. $ 8000 tax credit saved the housing market

    February 17, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. Four and The Door

    The ConservaFascists criticize the stimulus while someof them were at ribbon cutting ceremonies accepting the funds as if they supported the bill in the first place.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________
    This is such a worn out ineffective argument I'm surprised it still gets dug up every now and then. Okay, I'm not surprised. Liberals are smart to stay away from numbers. There is no support to their argument in the numbers. The Great Stimulus was now either a bonifide fraud or a serious miscalculation based on faulty ideas. I will give the Obama Administration and the Pelosi/ Reid congress the benefit of the doubt and say they intended no fraud.

    February 17, 2011 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  19. Liberal

    1. In fall 2009 our economy was in a free fall and there were serious concerns that we would - splat - hit the ground.

    2. Economists on the left and the right (if they are honest) agree that in a situation like that you HAVE to inject serious money into the system, lest your whole economy freezes up.

    3. Whether we like this or not (deficits etc.etc.) the stimulus WAS THE ONLY WAY (and the right way) to address this looming disaster.

    4. Look at statistical curves on unemployment and other economic indicators and look how they were trending for months (and years) before the stimulus and look how these negative trends changed in the summer of 2010. That is not a coincidence. That is a direct result of the stimulus.

    5. Yes, recovery has been slower than what we all wanted, but for the people who started the mess to complain about others not cleaning up the mess fast enough is hypocritical.

    6. Speaking of hypocrites: remember all the Republican members of Congress who were screaming about the stimulus (because they could make a little stack of political hay), who then lined up to get stimulus money for their pet projects and districts, because they knew exactly what the economic benefits were.

    7. And speaking a bit more of hypocrites: our Republican friends who suddenly discovered the Deficit as a political topic are the SAME ones who were CHEERING on the last administration while they were SHOVELING money out the window (tax-cuts, un-funded programs, wars etc.) and Dick Cheney was going: 'DEFICITS DON'T MATTER'

    February 17, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Ryche

    Hey ConservFasc, the stimulus did not work.. You have no clue what the economy would have done without the stimulus.So that claim is bs.. i got a whole 13 dollars extra in my paycheck.. Nice taxcut... And the American Auto industry would have had to reorganize and let the market work out thier issues... instead of propping up a bad business model... which is exactly what the stimulus did... and all those temp government jobs it created are now going bye bye... and the repubs are doing exactly what is needed to create jobs... By getting government out of the way and letting the free market capitalyst system work like its supposed too... instead of being propped up by the government.. which does nothing but prolong the inevetable... You believe the stimulus worked cause you're a dem hack.. with no real grasp on how the real world works... it doesn't work with government subsidies.. never has, never will... It only works with a small government.. which is something that ear leader is against.. He'd rather add 200,000 new public jobs.. which does nothing to stimulate.. The government does not produce anything.. it can only give away what it has taken from someone else.. you should learn a thing or two

    February 17, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Mr G from Tn

    Fact check please!

    February 17, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Liberal

    1. In fall 2008 our economy was in a free fall and there were serious concerns that we would – splat – hit the ground.

    2. Economists on the left and the right (if they are honest) agree that in a situation like that you HAVE to inject serious money into the system, lest your whole economy freezes up.

    3. Whether we like this or not (deficits etc.etc.) the stimulus WAS THE ONLY WAY (and the right way) to address this looming disaster.

    4. Look at statistical curves on unemployment and other economic indicators and look how they were trending for months (and years) before the stimulus and look how these negative trends changed in the summer of 2010. That is not a coincidence. That is a direct result of the stimulus.

    5. Yes, recovery has been slower than what we all wanted, but for the people who started the mess to complain about others not cleaning up the mess fast enough is hypocritical.

    6. Speaking of hypocrites: remember all the Republican members of Congress who were screaming about the stimulus (because they could make a little stack of political hay), who then lined up to get stimulus money for their pet projects and districts, because they knew exactly what the economic benefits were.

    7. And speaking a bit more of hypocrites: our Republican friends who suddenly discovered the Deficit as a political topic are the SAME ones who were CHEERING on the last administration while they were SHOVELING money out the window (tax-cuts, un-funded programs, wars etc.) and Dick Cheney was going: 'DEFICITS DON'T MATTER'

    February 17, 2011 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. terry, va

    How's that stimu-less working for you? Obummie lied about shovel ready projects, etc. I really don't care if we cut 10% of the federal employees. They are a drain to tax payer money anyway. Obummie wants to create more federal jobs and not public sector jobs. Federal employees don't contribute to society. They just suck up our taxes as their wages.

    February 17, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Thank you for helping us in our time of need Mr. President! Stay strong!

    February 17, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. rick

    After Bush / Cheney almost destroyed the country in 8 yers, the Republicans expect miracles? The fact is that in only 2 years the economy is much better off, we still have an auto industry, the Dow is above 12,000, corporate bonuses, especially on Wall St., will probably set records, controls have been placed on the banking and health care industries, the country is making huge profits on the bailouts. The only problem are the wars the Republicans started. If we had the guts to walk away from both of those, it would significantly reduce the deficit. But the Republicans continue to scream for tax cuts to the rich and the corporations which by the way, throughout history, that tactic never resulted in creating solid job growth which only follows a strong middle class. Boehner, McConnel, Cantor, Bachman, Palin, Paul, Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck, etc. have got to be the most unpatriotic group of Americans ever. Or maybe that's it. They are not American. Has anyone seen their birth certificates?

    February 17, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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