Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
A year after the stimulus package surged through congress, it has fallen short in a few key areas, including capping unemployment at the projected 8.5 percent, increasing transparency, and impacting marginalized communities. But as Kevin Drum points out, it's difficult to claim (based on facts, at least) that the recovery act has been a complete failure.
That doesn't stop congressional republicans like House minority leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and shiny new freshman Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass). In a press release Tuesday, Boehner criticized the "dismal performance of the 'stimulus.'" And last week, Brown told reporters that the stimulus "didn't create one new job," a claim that fact-checkers were quick to refute.
Speaking at an event celebrating the one year anniversary of the stimulus bill yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom rebuked lawmakers who downplay the recovery act's impact for political gain. "For people like Scott Brown to come out of the gates saying that is insulting to the intelligence of the American people," said Newsom. "It's an offensive statement, it's laughable on the surface, and it absolutely holds no weight in terms of foundation of fact."
But in the past year, the Obama administration's method for tracking how many jobs have been created or saved by the stimulus has been consistently unclear. Early on, the White House was accused of claiming to create new jobs in imaginary districts, and overstating the impact of part-time jobs. The government's stimulus watchdog called the early numbers "riddled with inaccuracies."