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Reason Foundation

Stimulus Program Gets a Grade of "F"

Samuel Staley
February 17, 2010, 11:12am

The Mackinac Center for PUblic Policy was tracking Vice President Joe Biden's trek through Michigan stumping for the stimulus program and asked economist David Littman and myself what we thought. We both had the same response: The program deserves a grade of "F".

As investigative journalist Tom Gantert writes for Michigan Capitol Confidential:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act injected about $6.3 billion into Michigan’s economy.

But Littmann and Staley both said the unemployment figures in Michigan, despite the infusion of cash, show the stimulus isn’t working.

“All I see is unemployment,” Littmann said.

“It was poorly designed to begin with,” Staley said. “It was not targeted for job creation of any consequence. It was a backdoor way to continue to fund the projects the Obama administration wanted. Under the mantra of jobs they just packaged a bunch of programs under the stimulus. It’s not part of a strategic or well designed program to stimulate the economy.”

For example, Flint’s unemployment rate was 13.8 percent in February 2009 when the stimulus program was approved. It was 16.6 percent in December 2009. Flint was approved for $2.2 million to pay for two environmentally friendlier electric buses.


Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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