Comments about ‘Was the 2009 stimulus bill a failure?’

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Published: Tuesday, Feb. 18 2014 12:20 p.m. MST

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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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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

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

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

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

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


What happened to all those shovel ready jobs?

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

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?

Salt Lake City, UT

@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

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.

Cedar Hills, UT

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

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?".

Salt Lake City, UT

"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

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.

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.

Parker, CO

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

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.

Murray, UT

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.

Sandy, UT


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.

Salt Lake City, UT

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

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

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

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

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.

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