Was the 2009 stimulus bill a failure?

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18 2014 12:40 p.m. MST

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, left, and others, delivers remarks at a road project funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, in this Friday, June 18, 2010 file photo, in Columbus, Ohio.

Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA), widely known as the stimulus that President Barack Obama signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009, turned five years old Monday, as reported by the Washington Post’s Jaime Fuller.

According to Fuller, the tone in Washington has switched from “happy birthday” to “good riddance.”

Among the critics of the AARA is Republican Sen. Marco Rubio who is quoted as saying, “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.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz took to Twitter to criticize the law:

Also on Twitter, the Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus weighed in:

On the other side of the coin is Think Progress’ Igor Volsky, who takes aim at Republicans for acting hypocritical.

Volsky writes that, “Over half of the GOP caucus praised the effects of the stimulus or took credit for the federal dollars in their home districts and states — despite repeatedly voting against it in Washington, D.C.”

However, even Obama has, in round about fashion, admitted to the law’s failure, according to The Daily Caller’s Morning Bro.

They said on Monday morning's roundup that while “he [Obama] can’t say that it was an outright failure, but … he says that shovel ready jobs weren’t quite as shovel ready as they should have been.”

As well, CNN’s Tom Cohen writes that the law’s fifth anniversary brings on more GOP attacks and little fanfare.

“Obama and Democrats argue it was crucial to the recovery from what is now called the Great Recession, while Republicans who opposed the stimulus then still call it the wrong prescription,” Cohen writes.

He goes on to say that the criticism on the part of Republicans is part of a broader strategy to frame the 2014-midterm elections as a “referendum on Obama's presidency with the party's conservative base relentlessly hammering Democrats over still-sluggish economic growth and the Obamacare health reforms.”

With a 2012 Pew Research Poll illustrating that Americans are divided on the law, it will be interesting to see which side of the isle can use it to their advantage in November.

Erik Raymond is experienced in national and international politics. He relocated from the Middle East where he was working on his second novel. He produces content for DeseretNews.com. You can reach him at:

eraymond@deseretdigital.com

@RaymondErik

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