GOP slams stimulus on fifth anniversary
February 17th, 2014
10:16 AM ET
5 months ago

GOP slams stimulus on fifth anniversary

updated 1:00pm ET

Washington (CNN) – Five years after the signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law, the measure, which is better known as the Stimulus or Recovery Act, was roundly criticized once again by Republicans.

"The Stimulus That Wasn't: Five Years Later, It's Clear Obama's Stimulus Was A Waste Of Taxpayer Dollars," was the headline on an email blast from the Republican National Committee Monday morning.

The stimulus was the first major bill pushed by Obama as he took over in the White House, and he signed the measure into law just a few weeks into his presidency. The law was designed to respond to the severe recession and skyrocketing unemployment, which the President inherited, by saving and creating jobs by pumping money into the economy. The original price tag of the measure was $787 billion, which was later revised upward to around $830 billion.

The stimulus was immediately opposed by the GOP, which had lost the White House and lost more ground to the majority Democratic Party in both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the November 2012 elections.

Passed by the House with no GOP support, the stimulus cleared the Senate with just three Republicans voting for the measure. The stimulus, along with the Wall Street and auto bailouts implemented a few months earlier under President George W. Bush, are largely credited with sparking the creation of the tea party movement.

"If you recall five years ago, the notion was that if the government spent all this money – that, by the way, was borrowed- that somehow the economy would begin to grow and create jobs. Well, of course, it clearly failed," said Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, in a video released Monday morning.

"Five years later, underemployment is still too high, the number of people that have dropped out of the workforce is astounding, unemployment remains stubbornly high and our economy isn't growing fast enough – proof that massive government spending, particularly debt spending, is not the solution to our economic growth problems," Rubio added.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and two other members of the GOP Senate leadership, Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota, also released statements critical of the stimulus.

The White House Monday afternoon touted the effectiveness of the law.

"Five years after the Recovery Act, the U.S. economy is undoubtedly in a stronger position than when President Obama took office. The economy has now grown for 11 straight quarters, and businesses have added 8.5 million jobs since early 2010. While far more work remains to ensure that the economy provides opportunity for every American, there can be no question that President Obama's actions to date have laid the groundwork for stronger, more sustainable economic growth in the years ahead,"  said Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, in a statement put out by the White House.

Vice President Joe Biden will mark the stimulus on Wednesday, as he travels to Granite City, Illinois to "highlight the need for continued investment in infrastructure to create jobs and grow our economy," according to a release from the White House.

The most recent non-partisan, live operator polling on the stimulus appears to come from Pew Research two years ago. According to that survey, 37% of Americans supported the stimulus, with 41% disapproving and nearly a quarter unsure. As expected, there was a wide partisan divide, with two-thirds of Democrats but just 12% of Republicans supportive of the measure.


Filed under: Economy • Marco Rubio • RNC
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Bill from GA

    Roughly $288 Billion of Obama's Stimulus was in tax cuts.

    Does Rubio now think tax cuts are a waste of money? Granted, they are harder to eliminate than other stimulus measures; once a tax cut is passed, it is considered permanent and removing a tax cut is seen as raising taxes, at least by republicans. That's a big reason we have such a huge debt.

    February 17, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. rs

    Fair is Fair

    rs

    Seeing as the vast bulk of the Stimulus Act was tax cuts, does this mean the GOP is warming up to the idea (finally!) that if we want a functional government, we must pay for it?
    --–
    I think everyone wants a functional government. There's a difference between a functional government and an obscenely bloated bureaucracy.
    _______________
    Oh, the old small enough to drown in a bathtub nonsense? By the number of employees, Mr. Obama's federal government is the smallest since 1968. Care to try again? By defunding the government through tax cuts for the rich, the GOP has attacked the functioning of government at all levels.

    February 17, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. Tony

    The CBO thought that the stimulus worked, as well as 80% of economists in a survey conducted by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

    February 17, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. rs

    "And Tax the Rich people out of existence, right?"
    ___________________
    Ah, the Right-wingers lament. We must take away poor kids' lunch money because it is "demeaning", but to even think about raising taxes a percent or two on America's record number of millionaires and billionaires (never mind nailing them with Mr. Eisenhower's 87% top tax rate) is simply way too mean. I'll remind everyone that Mr. Romney pays a lower annual rate than I do- and probably you too. Those poor old rich people are just so tender, and we mustn't offend them.
    BS! Time they pay for what America gave them- the ability to be rich, and lathered in tax cuts!

    February 17, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. rs

    bcrunner

    I am still waiting for ONE!! Just ONE jobs bill from the Republicans!! WHERE THE HECK IS IT????
    _______________________
    They are still waiting for their beloved 1% to tell them what to do on that front.

    February 17, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    -Fair is Fair

    rs

    Seeing as the vast bulk of the Stimulus Act was tax cuts, does this mean the GOP is warming up to the idea (finally!) that if we want a functional government, we must pay for it?
    --–
    I think everyone wants a functional government. There's a difference between a functional government and an obscenely bloated bureaucracy.
    ***************
    Fair, with all respect, we are also a country of over 300 million people. Our government, thanks to the idiotic games the Right insists on playing, is barely functional, and their actions are obscene. You and I can disagree to the degree to which government should be involved on various issues, but we want the government to work and to be ready, with adequate resources, to deal with vatious unforseen problems and to deal with ongoing ones. Only the most ideologically-driven fool, who imbibes without question the paranoia the Right feeds them, would want otherwise. The Left is no better either in driving ideology, and the result has been independents who loath the party system in particular and politics in general. Is that what is in store for us?

    February 17, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. salty dog

    Tony, if the report came from Chicago, the gop will attack it, questioning its legitimacy, they never quit. Let's not forget the gop did everything to make this fail, but nevermind that fact.

    February 17, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. Gunderson

    So,
    Say again. Why need stimulus in first place? Liberal's and Democrats run country last 100 years. So tell old Gunderson why need bail out. Maybe Big Liberal Policies no work so good, no? Naw, that can't be it. It those dirty Republican's screw all poor people, no, just like Louis XVI, no? Wow, need new conductor this train. One in charge now blind in one eye, can'r see out other. Maybe old Gunderson approval rating improve, no?

    February 17, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. Boomer in Mo

    Well, we had a shovel ready (really shovel ready) bridge built with the stimulus and even Rush Limbaugh agreed it was a good thing because he had driven over the old one and it scared the **** out of him. I had to drive over it about 20 times a week and am so glad we have the new one. It sure stimulated me and my neighbors. Don't know about the other projects though. Just the one.

    February 17, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. REGINALDB6

    If Federal, State and Local Governments was not force to layoff (THANKS TO REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS) UNEMPLOYMENT would have been around 3-4%. THINK ABOUT IT

    February 17, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. yeahright

    “Because of the recovery act, the unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus bill,” In fact, he said, it saved or created more than 3 million jobs"

    Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf

    February 17, 2014 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. Gary

    5 years ago, really?
    Whats next, he doesn't wear a suit coat in the oval office? No flag pin on his lapel? "D" for drive, "R" for reverse.

    February 17, 2014 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Thomas

    The Iraq war was a better investment for America , wars bring prosperity .
    Marco Rubio / Rand PAul 2016
    No more stimulas , more war !

    February 17, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Enough is Enough

    "Ah, the Right-wingers lament. We must take away poor kids' lunch money because it is "demeaning", but to even think about raising taxes a percent or two on America's record number of millionaires and billionaires (never mind nailing them with Mr. Eisenhower's 87% top tax rate) is simply way too mean"
    _________________________

    What right do you have to the fruits of my labor? Your anger/jealousy towards the wealthy is incredible. I'm sorry that you weren't as bright or industrious as someone else....I'm sorry that you feel such hatred and jealousy towards those who have more than you do.....but that does not give you the right to demand more from others simply to sooth your feelings of inadequacy.....

    February 17, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    The Real Tom Paine

    "Fair, with all respect, we are also a country of over 300 million people. Our government, thanks to the idiotic games the Right insists on playing, is barely functional, and their actions are obscene. You and I can disagree to the degree to which government should be involved on various issues, but we want the government to work and to be ready, with adequate resources, to deal with vatious unforseen problems and to deal with ongoing ones. Only the most ideologically-driven fool, who imbibes without question the paranoia the Right feeds them, would want otherwise. The Left is no better either in driving ideology, and the result has been independents who loath the party system in particular and politics in general. Is that what is in store for us?"
    ----------
    Tom, there is no question that this country is more polarized now than it has ever been. The left is going to blame the right, and the right is going to blame the left. BOTH sides are doubling down. So in answer to your question, yes... I do believe that's what;s in store for us. Who's to blame? The politicians who exploit this for personal gain... the very same politicians that the sheep put on a pedestal. How else do you explain a scenario where a congress (that is almost 50-50 dem vs. rep) has a 22% approval rating, and 90% or more will be re-elected? Boggles the mind.

    February 17, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Malory Archer

    Fair is Fair

    The politicians who exploit this for personal gain... the very same politicians that the sheep put on a pedestal. How else do you explain a scenario where a congress (that is almost 50-50 dem vs. rep) has a 22% approval rating, and 90% or more will be re-elected? Boggles the mind.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Unfortunately, too many Americans like their own congressperson and see all the others as the problem, which makes it impossible to even address the issue.

    February 17, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. ghostwriter

    Enough....are you really Sam Zell?

    February 17, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. tom l

    rs,
    Ah, the Right-wingers lament. We must take away poor kids' lunch money because it is "demeaning", but to even think about raising taxes a percent or two on America's record number of millionaires and billionaires (never mind nailing them with Mr. Eisenhower's 87% top tax rate
    ======

    Why be such a demagogue? As far as your 87%, do you actually think that's what they paid because they didn't through write-offs and deductions. This is why we need a flat tax. Oh, and just for the record receipts to the US govt are at an all time high. Were you aware of that?

    February 17, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Rubio, in classic sophist style, fails to let people know what a disaster the alternative would have been. Lying by telling half truths might work on half brains, but the American voter is smarter that Republicans think. That's why they keep losing.

    February 17, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. Pandamonius

    Didn't Bush give out some sort of economic package, mostly to corporations? Where's THAT money, and how come the Republicans don't complain about it?

    February 17, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -Enough is Enough

    "Ah, the Right-wingers lament. We must take away poor kids' lunch money because it is "demeaning", but to even think about raising taxes a percent or two on America's record number of millionaires and billionaires (never mind nailing them with Mr. Eisenhower's 87% top tax rate) is simply way too mean"
    _________________________

    What right do you have to the fruits of my labor? Your anger/jealousy towards the wealthy is incredible. I'm sorry that you weren't as bright or industrious as someone else....I'm sorry that you feel such hatred and jealousy towards those who have more than you do.....but that does not give you the right to demand more from others simply to sooth your feelings of inadequacy.....
    ************
    What right do the wealthy have towards the fruits of MY lablor? its always amazed me the degree to which the sheep on the Right feel the need to idolize those who have

    February 17, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    The GOP, always fighting last years wars...

    February 17, 2014 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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