Monday, December 14, 2009

Stimulus Needs Better Reporting

By Greg LeRoy

Aside from health-care reform, probably the most divisive issue in Washington today is the $787 billion economic stimulus program.

One camp argues that the Recovery Act has done a good job in preventing the country from plunging into a more serious crisis than the one we’ve got, while another camp says the whole effort has had little effect and was an expensive mistake. We suspect the former conclusion is correct, but would like better evidence.

Most arguments are based on differing assessments of the first round of jobs data released in October. The Recovery Act’s exemplary transparency provisions cover direct federal contracts and some of the grants to states—a limited part of the overall stimulus program. They counted about 640,000 jobs created or saved so far.

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