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May 1, 2013

In Response: The stimulus did work

Bob Jentges (April 19 My View) apparently read something about the stimulus that he thinks proves that the government is not efficient.

He gives no sources for his claims but they resemble the “pretend information” of the conservative media bubble. He has concluded that the Recovery Act failed, that most of the “promised” jobs never materialized and that it was the stimulus rather than the Bush depression that put more people on food stamps. He actually wrote that “Enrollment in the food stamp program has increased by about 70 percent since the stimulus.”

First, with respect to promised jobs, economic projections about the results of future policies are not “promises.” No macroeconomist can predict the future.

Second, there are several studies available on the stimulus that are more authoritative than Jentges’s fact-free theories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 6.5 million private sector jobs have been created since it took effect.

That hasn’t made up for the eight million jobs destroyed in the Bush recession, the reason both parties sought to pass a stimulus in 2009. The (failed) Republican stimulus proposal was for $713 billion, compared to Obama’s “soul-destroying, socialist tyranny” of $787 billion, of which $300 billion were tax cuts.

Jentges claims the Energy Department “doled out” $35 billion to green energy companies, many of which subsequently filed for bankruptcy or are in financial difficulty.

In reality, about $29 billion went to various DOE projects, including nuclear clean-up, Superfund sites and energy efficiency projects.

Some aid went to renewable and energy efficient technology, mostly in the form of loan guarantees. A few of the private companies that received loans went under, but those were business failures.

The most prominent was Solyndra, which defaulted on its $535 million loan. Most analysts attribute that failure to Chinese “dumping” of solar panels (selling below cost to eliminate competitors).

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