Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 08:18 AM
By Drew MacKenzie
“The ‘stimulus’ has turned out to be a classic case of big promises and big spending with little results,” said House Speaker John Boehner, according to The Hill. “Five years and hundreds of billions of dollars later, millions of families are still asking ‘Where are the jobs?'”
Sen. Ted Cruz, who led a government shutdown last year in a bid to defund Obamacare, sarcastically declared in a tweet that the president had only managed to add workers to two federal agencies mired in scandal.
As the Obama administration released a 70-page report on Monday praising The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Boehner said that the economy was still sluggish, and that the stimulus plan had created “a new normal of slow growth.”
“Rather than push for solutions to get us back on track, the president seems content serving up slogans and photo ops,” said the Ohio Republican, who called on Obama to start working with the GOP on bipartisan action to create jobs.
“We should set our sights higher, and aim to restore America as a nation of builders. Whether it’s improving job training, building the Keystone pipeline, or expanding markets for American exports, there are a number of areas ripe for bipartisan action.”
One month after he took office in 2009, Obama followed through on his campaign promise to give extra government benefits to struggling Americans and create jobs through infrastructure and green energy projects, says The Washington Times.
The stimulus measure, which passed in the then-Democratic House with no GOP votes and in the Senate with three GOP votes, was intended to get the country back to work following a housing and financial crisis that had cost millions of American their jobs.
But Republicans have said it took five years under Obama for the unemployment rate to fall below 7 percent, and even then that does not reflect the millions of people who have left the workforce.
“Five years later, our economy is still sluggish, Americans are dropping out of the workforce by the thousands, and the president’s latest big-government experiment, Obamacare, is now on track to slash 2 million more jobs from the workforce,” said Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn.
The Texas Republican referred to a Congressional Budget Office report that says there will be 2 million fewer full-time workers by 2017, due partly to smaller companies reducing worker hours to avoid Obamacare requirements that full-timers be offered health insurance.
But the White House pointed out in its report that the stimulus plan and other Democratic fiscal measures had saved or created 1.6 million jobs through 2012 and had ended the country’s 18-month recession in June 2009, six months after Obama took office, Fox News reported.
Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, which produced the report, wrote, “The recovery act . . . helped to avert a second Great Depression and made targeted investments that will pay dividends long after the act has fully phased out. The U.S. economy is undoubtedly in a stronger position than when President Obama took office.”
Although the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, Republicans have declared that the stimulus plan has created far fewer than the 3.3 million jobs touted by Democrats, Fox News says.
“Five years later, millions of Americans are still waiting for the relief Democrats and the president promised,” said South Dakota Republican Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. “The percentage of Americans participating in the labor force is at the lowest level since Jimmy Carter occupied the White House.”
On Monday, the five-year anniversary of Obama signing the measure, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said, “If the goal was to make things better, a clear majority of Americans would say it didn’t.”
Leading Democrats, such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, have declared that the stimulus package has been an overwhelming success, according to The Washington Times.
Pelosi said, “At the start of 2009, as Americans faced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the Democratic Congress took swift and bold action to bring our economy back from the brink, spur growth, create jobs and strengthen the middle class.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said more steps need to be taken for a full economic recovery.
“While we have made significant progress since February 2009, our recovery will not be complete until everyone can find a job that opens doors of opportunity to a secure place in our middle class,” he said.
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer also defended Obama’s stimulus package on Twitter.
“GOP attacks on the Recovery Act are a perfect example of the delusional messaging that makes them appear out of touch to so many Americans,” he said, according to Fox News.
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