On the Road to Economic Recovery (c) Matt Davies
One report shows that the GDP rose about 2.3 percentage points
First, the good news
While slightly less than a fifth of the stimulus package has been paid out so far, when it comes to gross domestic product, the Council's first quarterly report says that the stimulus package has already provided a bump of about 2.3 percentage points. It's an inexact estimate, since calculating the stimulus' effect on the economy requires predicting what the economy would have done in its absence. But the council's number falls within the range of predictions made by a number of other forecasters. Moody's Economy.com, for example, has asserted that the stimulus pumped up GDP by about 3 percentage points. And, forecasters say, that boost is likely to be even higher in the third quarter, once more projects are underway.
Another note of optimism from the council's report was the job count. Like estimating impact on GDP, counting jobs is not an exact science. And reports from individual agencies on how many people have been hired or retained because of stimulus funding are still being put together. But using both historical data analysis and statistical assessments, the council estimates that the package created or saved 600,000 to 1.1 million jobs in its first six months.
Not everyone is convinced
"How can anyone tell the American people with a straight face that the more than 2 million jobs that have been lost since the stimulus was enacted is actually 1 million jobs 'saved or created'?" Senate Republican Leader
Meanwhile, the GAO analysis of the stimulus' impact on states showed some of the stimulus' job retention effects in action. For example, most school districts in the 16 states and
An important note, though, is that even if the stimulus is boosting the economy, that doesn't mean individual projects will have particularly notable results. When it comes to education funding, the GAO report points out that "although school districts are preventing layoffs and continuing to provide educational services with [state fiscal stabilization] funding, most did not indicate that they would use these funds to pursue education reforms." That's because they have too many other obligations, not to mention "lack of guidance from states" and "insufficient planning time," the report says.
And it's not just schools that are using stimulus funds to simply try to maintain the status quo, rather than launching far-reaching projects. Much has been made, for example, of what effects the package's
Economy: End of The Recession Around the Corner?
Paul A. Samuelson
The 2006-2009 recession is likely over now (or very soon). So says Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. At most central banks around the globe the same story is now being proclaimed. Just what does this mean? And what does it not necessarily mean?
Free Enterprise is Key to Economic Recovery
Kenneth T. Walsh
Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has big plans. In mid-October, his organization, which is one of the most influential advocates for business in the United States, will launch a 'Campaign for Free Enterprise,' a multiyear effort (at an estimated cost of at least $25 million annually) to educate Americans about capitalism and explain the importance of free enterprise.
Pecora Hearings a Model for Financial Crisis Investigation
Congress could learn from Pecora's 1930s investigation of the stock market crash. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission -- created by Congress in May to determine and analyze the origins of the current financial crisis -- is charged with examining no fewer than 20 of its specific causes, including the roles of fraud and abuse, credit rating agencies, and corporate compensation structures. The commission must also examine the collapses of major financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.
The Case for Economic Irrelevance
A recession may stunt more than material growth. It can also drain intellectual curiosity. For economic pressure can lead people to settle for what only seems to be security instead of following their dreams. Which can be a tragedy for both the individual and a society that depends on people reaching ever higher, rather than not settling for what only seems safe.
Selling the Economic Recovery
To counter the pessimistic observations of Republicans who haven't been able to come up with their own answer to the economic mess they left to President Obama, he trotted out ever-optimistic Vice President Joe Biden the other day to declare a solid start to a job only barely getting underway.
Why Obama Won't Be Able to Reform Wall Street
Listening to President Obama's heartfelt, well-intentioned, but ultimately naive speech on financial reform, my mind kept flashing on a story I heard the last time Washington, in the wake of the Enron scandal, promised to reform Wall Street.
Barack Obama Must See Michael Moore's New Movie (and So Must You)
With his new movie, 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' Michael Moore is riding the wave of the collapse of trust in our country's financial system. The film is a withering indictment of the current economic order, covering everything from Wall Street's casino mentality to for-profit prisons, from Goldman Sachs' sway in Washington to the poverty-level pay of many airline pilots, from the tidal wave of foreclosures to the tragic consequences of runaway greed.
(c) 2009 U.S. News & World Report