Did the stimulus plan help Georgia? You bet

CAVE SPRING, Ga. — Last week, under a brilliant blue autumn sky, a platoon of Georgia officials broke ground for a brand-new vocational training center for Georgians who are deaf, blind or suffer other disabilities. It will replace a smaller facility, which has been located in this small town near Rome since 1962.

Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond, who planned the new building, noted the good fortune of a $10 million project in the midst of severe state budget cuts. He called it “miraculous.”

It isn’t. The new center will be constructed with funds from the same deeply unpopular federal government program that has cut taxes, bought groceries and paid college tuition in households around the country for more than a year — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the “stimulus.”

Among the officials grabbing a ceremonial shovel was Eddie Lumsden, the Republican chairman of the Floyd County Commission. While he believes the new Cave Spring Rehabilitation Center will be a “plus for the community,” like most GOP officials, he’s no fan of the Recovery Act.

“The argument was that it was going to do a lot to bring jobs and help business. But our economy here has not rebounded,” he said.

The Recovery Act was no cure-all, but an analysis by two economists has concluded that stimulus programs under the Bush and Obama administrations added about 2.7 million jobs. (In 2008, in response to the sluggish economy, the Bush administration sent out tax rebate checks. That was a little-noted early stimulus plan.)

In a July report, Princeton University economist Alan Blinder and Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, who advised John McCain’s campaign, concluded: “The stimulus has done what it was supposed to do: end the Great Recession and spur recovery.” Without the stimulus programs, they said, the unemployment rate would be around 1.5 percent higher.

Thurmond, whose department oversees vocational training programs, said that he set aside stimulus funds for the project because the old training center was dilapidated and “an embarrassment to the state of Georgia.”

The stimulus funds were “a Godsend, the money coming in the midst of a recession when state funds were being cut, to address this huge need we had,” he said.

Since he has mounted a quixotic challenge to popular GOP incumbent Senator Johnny Isakson, Thurmond might consider another aspect of the project useful to his campaign: It will generate some 200 construction jobs, according to John Farmer, a director of construction for the Beck Group, which won the state contract.

“That doesn’t count the jobs in manufacturing. All the materials have to be manufactured,” Farmer added.

But the Recovery Act remains little appreciated among average voters. Few seem to know, for example, that nearly one-third of the $787 billion Recovery Act came in the form of tax cuts, which benefitted 95 percent of households. The tax cuts didn’t go out as separate checks but took the form of slight increases in take-home pay, as the federal government withheld less.

That strategy was intentional; President Obama and his advisers believed that consumers would more likely spend small increases on items such as groceries and clothes, stimulating the economy. A larger check might have gone to savings accounts, with no effect on retail sales.

So the economic effect was just what the president and his advisers had hoped. The political effect, however, was less than useful for Democrats — voters who don’t believe their taxes were cut. Meanwhile, Republicans and their allies in the rightwing noise machine have done everything possible to persuade voters that the stimulus legislation was a model of government waste.

The new rehab center, which is expected to open in November 2011, will include a dormitory, cafeteria and classrooms, as well as modern greenhouses, an amphitheater and a basketball court. Its opening will no doubt draw an even larger group of politicians, many of whom insist that the Recovery Act was a disastrous mistake.

480 comments Add your comment

Cynthia Is Sexy!!

October 13th, 2010
3:09 pm

HD8

Agree on 2 thru 6. Combine ATF/DEA.

Nothing Is Free

October 13th, 2010
3:11 pm

willie lynch

– If after paying $200.00 a month for coverage this is how it shakes out, then I’m all in favor of a healthcare overhaul.- -

So please be specific and tell me how Obama Care fixes any of that.

willie lynch

October 13th, 2010
3:11 pm

Good Grief,

Where else might we apply this historical fact?

Cynthia Is Sexy!!

October 13th, 2010
3:11 pm

“Jon Stewart’s Political Rally”

Stewart is just such a butthole, along with Bill Maher and that idiot that addressed something on The Hill…Stephon Colbert or Tolbert?

They arent even comical…just dumb.

Nothing Is Free

October 13th, 2010
3:13 pm

Bert

I’ve worked on a few TV Cops shows, but have seen very few.

HDB

October 13th, 2010
3:18 pm

willie lynch
October 13th, 2010
3:05 pm

Having been on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line….and educated likewise (undergrad – Georgia (Columbus State), grad – Univ of St Thomas/Minnesota), there’s positives AND negatives! To compare academic programs…GT is the number 6 engineering school in the nation and FSU is right behind it!! You’re right in that the prepondernace of the “prestigious” schools are northern schools…just didn’t want you to sell certain southern schools short!

everyday American

October 13th, 2010
3:18 pm

hey Ms. Tucker, on a serious note, how do you feel about this,,a really close friend of mine is a project manager for a firm that builds schools(and he has been wide open for the last few years), BUT, ALL of the furniture(desks,lockers,chairs etc..) come from Russia or some other Asian countries. You think that’s right? it would help a lot more if some that stimulus money was MADE to be used here, in the good ole United States, instead of purchasing the epuipment from over-seas..oh, lets not count most of the illegal work force that is used also…

willie lynch

October 13th, 2010
3:21 pm

Nothing,

We haven’t seen it yet. The Obama healthcare plan has not been put into effect and it’s being assailed by the right. But many on the right won’t speak to what we have actually seen as a results of 8 years of disasterous economic policy from the previous administration.

It makes conversation difficult.

willie lynch

October 13th, 2010
3:23 pm

Nothing,

I’m always amazed at how many people die on Lake Lanier every year. ???

HDB

October 13th, 2010
3:26 pm

Cynthia Is Sexy!!
October 13th, 2010
3:09 pm
“HDB: Agree on 2 thru 6. Combine ATF/DEA.”

Let’s just combine it all with the FBI; shift some of the functions of the CIA into the Defense Department…….

Nothing Is Free October 13th, 2010
3:08 pm
“willie lynch

No problem if you want to spend your life where you can die for taking a walk outside in December.

Personally, I like to swim, to keep myself in great shape, to be around smart, active people who are always positive and friendly, i.e. the North has nothing to offer me.”

Depends on where you speak! I’ve found some of the friendliest people in the “craziest” places: Minneapolis, Des Moines..and Chicago!! Wasn’t afraid to be out or about in the neighborhood….just COLD in the winter!!

Nothing Is Free

October 13th, 2010
3:27 pm

HDB

Not bad.

1) Government-run baseline HMO; major medical/catastrophic coverage by insurance….subsidized contingent to income levels

I work for ambulance chasers but I hate what they do. You gotta include tort reform. It doesn’t mean that doctors can’t be sued, but look at this latest hip replacement mistake by some company owned by J&J. The wolves are circling.

Gotta be careful of the income level thing. If it is free for that guy, it needs to be free for this guy. I’ll pay my taxes, but not for a free ride for people too lazy to work. I won’t pay premium insurance rates for me and pay taxes for his coverage.

2) Two year FREEZE on federal spending; complete cost-benefit analysis run to determine where saving could occur

Great idea, but like every time it has been tried, the party in charge gets to make the exceptions.

3) Education spending be consigned to Dept of Education for higher education

No. The system is broken. We need a complete refunding method for our schools. Poor kids go to the worst schools. THat has to stop before we ever improve our country.

4) Veterans should be allowed to attend school for free – no matter what era because of their service

Amen.

5) Consolidation of areas in the Defense Deptartment (Logistics, procurement….)

Good idea, but again, the pentagon don’t take orders very well.

6) Merging of HHS, HUD into one HHS!

Not bad, but honestly don’t know that much about what each organization does.

7) Infrastructure spending to commence
Dept of Education become a private/public consortium to address educational issues……

Federal Infrastructure is very limited to the Interstate Highway System and power grid stuff. Most infrastructure financing is local.

But overall, not bad. It would just be almost impossible to get what you want passed, but my ideas would be just about as popular.

In order to offer suggestions that politicians will adopt, there has to be an angle for the politicians, and you are simply talking about the good of the people and not the good of the politician.

Nothing Is Free

October 13th, 2010
3:31 pm

willie lynch

The economic policies of the Republicans went away with the strong economy in 2007.

When people insist on grouping all eight years of the Bush Administration into one thought instead of understanding who was making the laws during the horrible downturn on 2007-2008, they lose credibility.

Let’s talk about Bush’s first six years compared to his last two.

Nothing Is Free

October 13th, 2010
3:33 pm

HDB

Oh, the best women are from the midwest. Tall, long legged, soft spoken.

I think most people refer to the NorthEast as the north.

Nothing Is Free

October 13th, 2010
3:37 pm

Cynthia Is Sexy!!

- -They arent even comical…just dumb.- -

Dumb is the new smart. Look at what Jon Stewart has done just by rolling his eyes.

Informative, intelligent commentary is for boring Republicans.

Democrats want to be the hippest of the hip and right now that means the dumbest of the dumb.

And don’t they just shine at it?

willie lynch

October 13th, 2010
3:42 pm

Nothing,

A slow steady drip of water can carve a path through rock. The economic collapse didn’t start in 07 the first signs were in 03.

Loss of credibility? I don’t think so.

AmVet

October 13th, 2010
3:45 pm

It is widely known that the fake family value prudes and puritanical cons should never make any assessments, evaluations. etc regarding anything connected to comedy.

They simply do not get it.

How else can one explain Dennis Miller?

ctucker

October 13th, 2010
3:48 pm

Nothing is Free@3:31, What laws changed in 2007-2008 to make the economy bad? Name two.

HDB

October 13th, 2010
3:49 pm

Nothing Is Free
October 13th, 2010
3:27 pm

Problem I have with tort reform is that you’re taking the judgment away from juries and giving it to the power brokers!! If the evidence presented makes the corporation pay, let the jury decide!!

The reason I went with income levels is that it does place responsibility WITH the individual! No one has to motivate me about wanting to work…I’m MISERABLE when I’m unemployed!!

Local education needs a more consistent funding source…and it’s broken; that I admit to…..I was focusing on higher education because it’s unconscionable how a person can be saddled with over $250K in school loan debt….be expected to be able to pay it back on an income of less than $50K….and that’s the only job he could get in this economic climate!!

When it comes to local education, the focus needs to shift from teaching the test to teaching the COURSE for logic and comprehension!! Discipline problems need to be removed and alternative educational facilities be created for those issues. Also….a different paradigm needs to be invoked; not just emphasis on college…but vocational and industrial education for those who don’t desire to go to college!!

BTW…understand the Swedish influence in the Midwest…particularly in Minnesota and Wisconsin…. :)

HDB

October 13th, 2010
3:50 pm

NiF…that’s why the women are as they are…but they DO have tempers!! Don’t sell then short…. :)

HDB

October 13th, 2010
3:51 pm

willie lynch

October 13th, 2010
3:42 pm
Nothing,

A slow steady drip of water can carve a path through rock. The economic collapse didn’t start in 07 the first signs were in 03.

Willie…for me..and many like me, the first sign was 9/11/2001!!

AmVet

October 13th, 2010
4:00 pm

In an interview with The Associated Press, VP Cheney also said that Bush has no need to apologize for not foreseeing the economic crisis.

“I don’t think anybody saw it coming,” he said.

One of the many major idiots, and arguably the loathsome leader of the lame brained Bush apologists, in the fiscally irresponsible GOP.

The one that devastated millions of American families…

Mongo

October 13th, 2010
4:33 pm

Hey Nothing Is Free, you keep whining about how the mean old Democrats “attacked” small business in 2007.
Care to name the legislation they passed (and your wet-dream of a president, Bush, had to have signed) that did this? Or, like most Connies, don’t you let facts get in the way of your BS?

Mongo

October 13th, 2010
4:41 pm

“How else can one explain Dennis Miller?”

Dennis WAS funny until 9/11. It scared him so badly he had to cling to Bush for comfort so he would stop wetting the bed.

Good Grief

October 13th, 2010
4:44 pm

HDB @ 3:51 – “A slow steady drip of water can carve a path through rock. The economic collapse didn’t start in 07 the first signs were in 03. ”

So, you’re not going to shift any of the blame to the housing market under Clinton, where it was decided that living the American Dream was more important than being able to afford the American Dream?

HDB

October 13th, 2010
5:18 pm

Good Grief
October 13th, 2010
4:44 pm

If you’re going with the repeal of Glass-Stegall that cut the financial markets loose with no control…then yes…along with Phil Gramm and Jim Leach!!

Too many people keep blaming the CRA..but that’s hogwash!! All the CRA did was to get the banks to lend money in the communities they SERVED!! Note how many branched of certain banks CLOSED rather than to serve minority clients!!

Lil' Barry Bailout

October 13th, 2010
6:14 pm

How many jobs did the Republicans create under our President Bush?

I don’t know, but it was enough to keep the unemployment rate below what it has been in every month of the Idiot Messiah regime.

Joe

October 13th, 2010
7:14 pm

If it did so well why are the dem candidates not running on it Tucker…. It seems to me they are running away from it as they are all of Obama’s policies…. I understand that you and other so called elites think you know better than the rest of us but when you add up this cost it don’t make sense. They promised unemployment wouldn’t reach 8%. It reached double freaking digits for the first time in decades under Obama’s watch….

CYNT U MUST KEEP UR JOB

October 13th, 2010
8:03 pm

THANK GOD FOR LINCOLN AND BRING JEFF DAVIS BACK TO LIFE SO I CAN WHIP HIS @$$!

Ben of Gainesville

October 14th, 2010
8:39 am

The tax cuts you speak of was a ruse. There was no tax cut. The income tax rates for 2009 never changed. The extra money people took home was from a reduction in the withholding rate, the same amount of tax was still due when the tax return was filed. There was just less withholding there to apply to the tax due. The IRS even sent out a notice through the media advising people of this fact. It was another smoke screen from the Obama administration.

tester

October 14th, 2010
9:18 am

Just so we’re fair, BOTH parties