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Was the 2009 stimulus bill a failure?

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  • FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    Was the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 a failure? Both were Kenynesian stimulus models, one from President Bush and one from President Obama. But whereas President Obama put money into infrastructure that local governors took credit for, President Bush just sent everyone a check. Both approaches could be argued. On the one hand, Obama's plan was to boost jobs through projects. Bush's plan was to boost the economy through increasing demand. Personally I liked pieces and parts of both, but I agreed with Governor Huntsman that both were too small to have the desired effect.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    Shrinking middle class, the lowest percentage of people working, the highest number on Food Stamps, the president criticizing Bush for a $9 trillion debt and now it is $17 on its way to $20 trillion, a bailout of local governments that are dominated by public service unions who make 99% of their donations to Obama's party, no growth oriented industrial policy, bailouts of incompetent or criminal financial institutions, GM restructuring that could have been done without a bailout, a Cash for Clunkers program that was useless, crony capitalism grants to Solyndra and other costly failures that benefitted his donors, Quantitative Easement (printing money) at $85 billion a month that has provided profits to the stock market and few others, no real job growth and the list goes on. If these are considered successes, then the stimulus was a triumph.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:16 p.m.

    Since we don't know for sure what would have happened if we had taken a different course... We can only judge it subjectively (based on our assumptions of what WOULD have happened had taken a different course).

    ===

    Monday morning quarterbacking is easy, but you never know what would have happened if they threw the pass instead of running the ball... your pass may have been incomplete, but Monday-Quarterbacks just assume it would have gone for a score.

    Same for the big decisions Bush had to make. You can say the war on terrorism was a failure. But it's all based on your assumptions of how things would have turned out IF they did it your way.

    If you assume that after 9/11 terrorist attacks on America would just stopped on their own... then it wasn't a needed reaction.

    But if we knew (by some crystal ball) that more attacks would happen (which was the assessment at the time)... and we acted and the enemy attacks didn't happen... then it was a success. But you never know what would have happened had we acted differently.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:31 p.m.

    Not for Billionaires on WallStreet, Bankers, Venture Capitalists, or any other Gadianton Robber --
    For them, it was Manna from Heaven, a Golden Parachute, proof that their Master Mahon economics can indeed trample the United States Constitution.

    To the rest of the 99% of us,
    it was another in a growing long string of Boondoggles created to enrich the rich,
    and enslaven us even further.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:40 p.m.

    "How to get the police when you're elderly"

    Uh, golly gee, is this a trick question? OK, I'll bite.

    YES!

    What happened to all those shovel ready jobs?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 1:58 p.m.

    you mean when barack said if he was allowed to spend the 787 billion that unemployment wouldn't reach 8% and then it went to over 11%?

    Was that a failure?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    @Chris B
    Two things:
    1. That "won't go above 8%" projection was made in election season 2008 at the start of the financial crisis. It severely underestimated how things would be. It assumed we'd be losing around half as many jobs in the months between then and obama got into office than we did. Heck, we were already at almost 8% when Obama was inaugurated, over a full percentage point higher than what the projection predicted, even before Obama could do anything. February 2009, the month the stimulus was passed lost fewer jobs than January, March less than February, and so on until we weren't losing jobs anymore in 2010. That's as fast a transition as anyone could reasonably expect from McCain or Obama.
    2. We never got to 11% unemployment during the recession, it barely even got to 10%.

  • Anti Government Alpine, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 2:47 p.m.

    Unfortunately now our 2 parties are the progressives and the democrats. The republicans are now just the old democrats and the old democrats are full blown socialists.

    Many people are missing the point. These stimulus bills whether they are from Bush or obama are a result of failed govt policies that literally caused these economic collapses.

    Clear back to Clinton and his genius idea to loosen the credit strings so "everyone could own a piece of the American dream (a house)". Sells great but in reality what that meant was loans to people who had not business getting them because they were a horrible credit risks.

    They ran up the tab on bad debt and it nearly collapsed our financial system. Then came the bailout...that made companies who were already too big to fail....even bigger. "Financial reform" was nothing more than a tax on companies so the govt got a piece of the pie while bad policy continues.

    Politicians have successfully divided the population which is why we all are now enslaved.

    If people had any sense we would get organized and unload ALL tenured politicians every term. Get rid of all the power brokers and corruption.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 3:06 p.m.

    Take a look out on Career Builder and Monster job search sites and that will tell you all you need to know. You might want to also look at the food stamp explosion and fraudulent disability entitlement escalation too. If things were going well with the job market you would know it...we would all know it. The only word I hear mentioned is "tight" when referring to the job market. So we are now on year 6 of a "tight" job market. Don't ya think if there really was any practical solution to create jobs by Barack we would have felt it by now?? Just saying...

    Again - the Obama base don't work anyway so unemployment could be 40% and they still get their welfare checks right on time so who really cares?? Mitt Romney was soooo right on!!! What a country!!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    Chris B,
    We still can't conclusively call it a "failure". Democrats can (and have) stated that unemployment would have gone to 20% IF we didn't do the 2009 stimulus bill. How they can prove that... I don't know. But that is the explanation I've heard every time it's pointed out that unemployment actually went up after the bill.

    That's the problem with monday-morning quarterbacking stuff like this. Even if it goes bad (and even more jobs are lost, and unemployment actually goes higher)... you can do as the Obama administration has done, and claim that you actually SAVED jobs (because we would have lost even MORE jobs if we hadn't passed the bill) so they have some voodoo calculation of all the jobs they "Saved" because we didn't lose as many jobs as they assume we would have lost if we did something different.

    It's like if we had another 9/11-like attack right after Bush attacked Afganistan... and the administration claims it was still a "success"... because we probably would have been attacked TWICE if we hadn't responded.

    Like Hillary Clinton always says... "What difference at this point does it make?".

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 3:25 p.m.

    "Was the 2009 stimulus bill a failure?"
    ---------------

    Well, as the commentary within and in response the article shows, it's still up for debate.

    I'd say one thing is glaringly obvious. It certainly did **not** fail in being a major contributor to us doubling the national debt load! :o)

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 3:49 p.m.

    Yes, the 2009 porkulus was a failure and a waste of money.

    according to one of BO's strongest backers, the NYT, less than 5% of the porkulus had been spent by 2Q 2009.

    the recession ended 2Q 2009, so clearly the porkulus did not end the recession since less than 5% of it had been spent when the recession ended. Now some BO apologists will claim that the 5% fixed everything. If that were so, the economy would be exploding by now, but the recovery has been tepid at best.

    No, the porkulus did nothing but waste almost $800 Billion.

    Open-minded,
    you are actually criticizing something BO did? I cannot believe it. You do realize the 2009 package was passed by a dem house, a dem senate, and signed by a dem POTUS with NO GOP votes, don't you? you recognize BO and his cabal are gadiantons? glad to have you on board.

  • Darmando Parker, CO
    Feb. 18, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    There was a planned road and intersection project scheduled to begin in the next year where I lived at the time. The project instead was started almost immediately and was completed several months ahead of schedule. The money for this project was part of the nearly 800 billion, but money itself is worthless unless it goes to where it can be used efficiently and effectively. In this case it brought much needed money into our economy in the short run and in the long run boosted productivity by untold millions of dollars as commute times have been vastly shortened and hundreds of thousands of gallons of gasoline are no longer burned in traffic jams. It's the type of example people forget and take for granted anyway but it was a definite success.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 18, 2014 5:04 p.m.

    Before deciding whether the "stimulus" was a total failure, why not report exactly how that money was used? Is it so hard for a newspaper to tell us where the money went? Did any of the money create private sector jobs? Public sector jobs don't count because public sector jobs require private sector job to provide the taxes to make those public sector jobs viable.

    Who received the money? What long-term benefits accrued because of that spending? Has any of those "jobs" turned a net profit where the "workers" contributed more back into the revenue stream than they took from it?

    Until those very simple questions are answered, we can only assume that someone is hiding the information. Hiding information is just another way of saying that the program failed.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 5:11 p.m.

    The 2008 stimulus gave tax money, paid by tax payers, back to those tax payers, and allowed them to use it in the way they needed/deemed best. As the money was spent, it went back into the economy.

    The 2009 stimulus was supposed to go to shovel ready infrastructure jobs. Where did the money go? Who knows? Obama didn't give an account, other than laughing that the shovel ready jobs weren't as shovel ready as he thought. Solyndra got some. The rest probably went to line the pockets of democrat donor companies. It looks better on paper, to give it to big corporations, than giving the stimulus directly to the Democratic National Committee.

    A lot of people were helped by the 2008 (approximately 53% of Americans), and since so many people were helped by the 2008 stimulus, the country overall was helped by the 2008 as well.

    I haven't seen any evidence that the country's economy was helped at all by the 2009 stimulus, and I don't rub shoulders with or work for the Solyndra type, so I don't know any individuals who benefited either.

    The stimulus money laundered to the DNC certainly hasn't helped the economy grow.

  • Ken Sandy, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 8:30 p.m.

    Alt,

    Per the bureau of labor statistics February unemployment was higher than January. March higher than February. April higher than march. May higher than April. June higher than may. July the same as June. August higher than July. September higher than August. October higher than September.

    In other words, the exact opposite of what you claimed happened in 2009.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 12:04 a.m.

    It was successful in that we didn't get Great Depression II. Remember the economy was falling like a rock when Obama assumed the presidency. We didn't know where the bottom was. The stimulus provided a bottom. Without the stimulus we would have entered a second great depression.

    Of course it didn't work as well as many hoped, because there are other more fundamental things wrong with our system. But I shudder to think where we'd be without it.

  • Bob K portland, OR
    Feb. 19, 2014 2:49 a.m.

    Another "loaded" DN article, more's the pity!

    Blame President Obama for the 2nd stimulus he signed when in office 4 weeks!
    Make all the economic failures his!

    FYI -- the only way out of a recession that works is to spend your way out of it to get the economy going. Notice that the repubs just make noise waiting for the country to fail, so they can blame Obama.

    Why does the DN, an instrument of the lds church, print slanted articles like this?

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 4:44 a.m.

    One simple question....Has anything that Obama has done accomplished anything positive?

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 7:19 a.m.

    So the stock market is soaring and companies are raking in massive profits... but those same companies refuse to hire domestically... this is the hazards of stimulating a "free market" where companies that benefit have no obligation to return the favor to broader society.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 8:25 a.m.

    Baron,
    the porkulus was about shovel-ready jobs in the US. Your comment about the stock market and off-shoring jobs is irrelevant when the porkulus was supposed to be about shovel ready jobs.

    of course, even BO admitted later the jobs weren't so shovel-ready, yuck yuck, hah hah.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    @high school fan "Has anything that Obama has done accomplished anything positive?" Where have you been the last 6 years? Absent Obama we could have had a 2nd Great Depression and a fascist revolt. Obama gets a lot of credit from me, and anyone who has been paying attention.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    Darmando,
    You got your intersection almost a year ahead of schedule... that's what makes it seem like a success.

    It's a fact... Some jobs WERE created (temp jobs, but they were jobs). But Obama's own economists did the math and figured out that it cost the government $278,000 per Job (Dollars spent/jobs created).

    Somebody in Congress pointed out that the government could simply have cut a $100,000 check to everyone whose employment was allegedly made possible by the “stimulus,” and taxpayers would have come out $427 billion ahead.

    So we could have given everybody $100,000 to just stay home and watch TV... and been $427 billion ahead! But you wouldn't have gotten your intersection.

    So I guess it was worth the $427 billion extra we spent.

    $278,000 per Job... that's a lot for a construction worker, or a guy holding a slow/stop sign.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 11:33 a.m.

    @Ken
    I didn't say unemployment started falling, I said the number of jobs lost in February was fewer than January (sorry for being unclear). We lost 700k in January but only lost around 600k in February and that continued to decrease until by early 2010 we were gaining jobs instead. Realistically that's about as fast as one could expect a turnaround to occur, you'd have to make an incredibly massive forcing to go much faster than that (like entering WWII in 1941).

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 11:35 a.m.

    @2 bits
    "$278,000 per Job... that's a lot for a construction worker"

    Half the stimulus was tax cuts. And besides, this isn't 278k per job per year. A lot of these jobs are several to many year positions.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 11:42 a.m.

    marxist,

    Where is the support for your assertion he prevented another depression? you have none because none exists.

    your comment is incorrect as evidenced by the fact less than 5% of the porkulus had been spent when the economy started to recover. BO did NOTHING to prevent a second great depression; he has only weakened the current recovry.

    No, let me correct myself, your comment about a fascist revolt could easily be interpreted to refer to how BO has been sidestepping congress and acting like a dictator. So there is some validity to your comment - about the fascism, not the economics.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    To "atl134" how about we measure the success of the stimulus by the labor participation rate, that is a measure of the percnet of people actually working in the US. According to the BLS we have the lowest participation rate since 1979. If the stimulus worked, why is it that the labor participation rate is so low?

    If you look at the U6 unemployment numbers, things look worse because that is still above 12%. It looks worse for Obama if you look at the graphs of the U6 unemployement during his term in office.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 19, 2014 1:38 p.m.

    @Anti Government
    Unfortunately now our 2 parties are the progressives and the democrats. The republicans are now just the old democrats and the old democrats are full blown socialists.

    [LOL, ROTFL]

    ========

    @high school fan "Has anything that Obama has done accomplished anything positive?"

    [Osama Bin Laden. Another hater all-things Obama. He if he curedcancer, feed the planet, and ushered in the Millineum -- you would still find nothing positive.]

    ============

    lost in DC
    West Jordan, UT

    I am not a lemming or a card carrying political hack.
    I criticize Obama all the time.
    Both sides.
    because I am honest and have integrity.

    Prof. Richard Davis is singling out those who are critical of the opposing no matter what -- yet willfully are blind of their side.

    Regardless of what is Right or Wrong.

    I agree with Prof. Davis --
    They lack honesty AND integrity.

    BTW -- Obama failed me many times because;
    I wanted s Single-Payer Option in the ACA,
    tax increases on those making over $1 million / year,
    and
    we do not have MORE eco-friendly Green, Renewable Energy programs like he promised.

    Now --
    Do I hear ONE Republican admitting the GWBush/Cheney wars were wrong? one?

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 2:10 p.m.

    "Until those very simple questions are answered, we can only assume that someone is hiding the information [about the ARRA]. Hiding information is just another way of saying that the program failed."

    "The 2009 stimulus was supposed to go to shovel ready infrastructure jobs. Where did the money go? Who knows? Obama didn't give an account. . ."

    It always cracks me up, these people that think there is some huge conspiracy because THEY are uninformed. What? Did President Obama not call you and tell you where the money went? Did you not get a personal email about it from anybody?

    You know, it's rather amazing the amount of research you can do just using the internet. There is a helpful site at Recovery dot gov. It will tell you exactly where the money has gone. (Of course you have to look around the site a bit. You have to do a little bit of work yourself. But the site is user friendly. You can do it.) Nobody is hiding anything.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 2:34 p.m.

    Open Minded Mormon,
    Are you still stuck in Bush beating mode? He's long gone!

    If you want someone to say the GWBush/Cheney wars were wrong... I'll say it. They were wrong.

    But President Obama doesn't agree. He said the actions we took in Afghanistan were needed. And he has continued the war in Afghanistan and actually escalated it. Obama thinks Iraq was a mistake, but that depends on your perspective (IMO).

    Remember Congress had access to the same intelligence reports Bush had, and approved the wars. Both of them. Democrats included. So you can't just blame Bush or Cheney exclusively (although I know it's a fun sport).

    But I'm one Bush Supporter who can admit that he made mistakes (from the Monday quarterback perspective).

    But I don't think that blaming is the most important thing in all things. Finding solutions is.

    Regardless of whether the 2009 stimulus bill was a "failure" or not... should we do it again?

    Probably not. So that's what's important. That we learn lessons.

    A nation can't borrow it's way to prosperity. Someday the debt has to be paid.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 2:47 p.m.

    @Open mind,

    Two can easily play that game.

    You are honest and full of integrity because you "criticize" Obama for not being as liberal as you wish?

    Ok, here goes:

    I too am very honest

    And I am full of integrity because I don't look at party affiliation when I criticize someone

    I will criticize both parties and I often do.

    What do I criticize bush for?

    Lots of things:

    I wish Bush had cut entitlement programs.

    He should have cut them in half.

    Bush should have reduced the tax rate and given taxpayer money back to taxpayers

    Bush should have invested more in the development and extraction of natural resources like coal and oil.

    Bush should have increased our military spending to better protect our country.

    I am a very honest person and can criticize BOTH parties.

    More people really need to learn from my example.

  • Christopher B Ogden, UT
    Feb. 19, 2014 4:52 p.m.

    alt,

    And if unemployment had decreased right after in a pattern but job losses had increased, would you have cheery picked the unemployment and left out the job loss information to support your theory? Try to be honest here.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 12:19 a.m.

    Don't you think that criticism of our president has gone far beyond the point of ridiculous! There are a lot of good things our president has done and considering where Bush left us, we have come a long way. I worked directly with stimulus funds and seen the wok that it generated for local companies here in Utah and you better believe that it helped them a lot, considering Face it, Obama has done much better than people thought, but don't expect any republican to admit that! You know, republicans say whatever they want and expect people to believe it! People support the president much more than republicans say and compare it to the support republicans give each other, I don;t think you have anything to talk about. I can't think of anything that republicans have done and they have the nerve to judge Obama! Give me a break!

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    To "RFLASH" what has Obama done that is good? Everything he has touched has turned out poorly. The ACA's cost has trippled, and is killing jobs. His jobs programs have yet to actually produce jobs. He has killed domestic oil production on Federal lands. He wants to raise minimum wage, which will kill more jobs. He made the worst parts of the Patriot Act permanent. Obama's administration has been implicated in the IRS scandal.

    Now, before you think I support Bush, tell me what Obama has done that is different than Bush?

    What great accomplishment has Obama done that Bush hadn't already done? If you say Osama, remember Bush go Saddam, so they both got a tyrant.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 20, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    RedShirt
    USS Enterprise, UT
    To "RFLASH" what has Obama done that is good? Everything he has touched has turned out poorly.

    Now, before you think I support Bush, tell me what Obama has done that is different than Bush?

    --------

    Bush: 1 million troops, 12 years, $3 Trillion -- nothing.
    Obama: 12 Navy Seals, 12 minutes, $3 million (because of the helicopter, and even at that 1/1,000,000th the cost of Bush) -- and Osama Bin Laden is dead.

    OK Bush supporter, your move.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 1:52 p.m.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" really??

    You realize that those troops freed 2 countries and got rid of tyrants in those countries.

    Yes Obama got Bin laden, but Al Qaeda is still alive. He might as well be bragging about killing Abdul the terrorist. Killing Bin Laden did nothing to stop terrorism. Killing him probably hurt the US more because his secrets went with him.

    Plus, you forget that Bush got Saddam.

    So, so far all you have proven is that you hate Bush, and love Obama. Is that really an accomplishment for Obama?

    What has Obama done that is different than Bush? You still have to answer that question.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 2:35 p.m.

    Resshirt - job well done. Do you also realize you're arguing with Pagan. He changed screen names a while ago but its been quite obvious.

    Everything will always be bush's fault and the only time he'll criticize anyone is for not being a liberal extremist as he thinks they should be.

    Barack has promised a lot with the economy and failed on every one.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 3:36 p.m.

    Redshirt, and all you have proven is that you hate Obama. What's your point?

    Also, the question isn't who can criticize who, the question is Redshirt and Chris, can you find anything positive to say about the current president? See, the thing is, if you can't, you are just pure partisans. Nothing more. You will never look realistically at an issue, and as such your opinions are easily dismissable by those who are thoughtful.

    For instance, look at both your lists of criticisms. All of your points are very debatable, many of your points our outright misrepresentations.

    Both of you make broad generalizations that are just plain silly:

    "Everything he has touched has turned out poorly."

    And

    "Barack has promised a lot with the economy and failed on every one."

    These types of comments can't even come close to be taken serious by anyone that is even somewhat knowledgable about the real world. But go ahead and keep patting each other on the back.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 20, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    To "mark" how about this. Obama is the best liar that I have ever seen in office, and has the best control over the media out of any president in history. As the Onion pointed out in 2008, Obama could go on a killing spree and the media would ignore it. He could probably stand there, covered in blood and tell you with a straight face that he had nothing to do with it, and many would believe him.

    If Obama's promises on the economy have not failed, name one. He promised that unemployment would go down. However, when you look at the actual numbers, unemployment is still high because people are just quitting the labor force. He keeps promising that jobs are his highest priority, yet does nothing. When he took office, gas was less than $2/gallon, but through most of his presidency it has remained closer to $3/gallon.

    Tell us, what has Obama actually done that hasn't backfired?