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

Booger Presley

October 13th, 2010
9:37 am

101ST!!!

YES!

Paul

October 13th, 2010
9:41 am

This is being presented, as so may of these topics are, as an either/or situation. Either it worked or it didn’t. Either it was good or it wasn’t.

Couple of points. First, if we look back at the initial proposals we see the Republican proposal was quite close to Pres Obama’s tax cut and spending amounts (yes, Pres Obama recommended tax cuts as a stimulus). Congressional Democrats then took the proposals and went into Santa Claus mode.

It’s not an either/or – it’s the apparent amount, far in excess of what was needed, that has many people concerned.

It’s like finding a malnourished person and feeding them 6,000 calories a day, many from fat and sugar. Did the person need more calories to get healthy? Yes. Did they need that many, from those sources? No. Will the patient recover? Yes. Was there a lot of waste in the treatment? Yup.

At what cost?

October 13th, 2010
9:42 am

Economists have used various models (historic, whether based in any fact, who knows) to project how many jobs have been created by spending of stimulus money. Let’s say the the 1.5% unemployment figure is right…that’s perhaps 2 million jobs. If the portion of the stimulus total spent was $300 billion for those jobs, that $150 K per job (that’s inefficient). If looked at from the entire $787 billion, that’s $390,000 per job…that grossly inefficient.
Anyone can spend money and create jobs, the question is whether it is better done via the government or someone else. No one can argue people were employed as a result of stimulus, but at those levels per job, why not just give the people more unemployment insurance or assistance? Much cheaper for everyone else who pays the bills (debt, taxes, future interest, etc.).

Booger Presley

October 13th, 2010
9:44 am

At what cost. Sounds logical but our liberal friends would deem it a “far-fetched lie.” So much for public education…

Monir Edwan

October 13th, 2010
9:45 am

Keep up the good fight- hey buzz me in Palestine dude. I didn’t know foreign donations were illegal.

Publius

October 13th, 2010
9:47 am

Conservatives underestimate the risk and effects of another major Depression. Serious depressions used to occur like clock-work every 20 years. Gov’t investments and Fed. Reserve policy has moderated those wild swings.

The simple fact that unemployment levelled off should be celebrated. An economy can start to reach a tipping point and spiral downward. The stimulus funds successfully put the brakes on that. Now it’s time for the private market that conservatives tout to start creating those jobs — i.e. banks lend and corporations invest the cash they are sitting on.

pat

October 13th, 2010
9:48 am

Well the intelligence level hasn’t increased any…
A rehab center and 200 construction jobs likely to be staffed by illegals is proof that the stimulus worked? You cannot spin crap in to gold like obama can.
The Georgia economy sucks, unemployment is over 10% other than signs signaling that already on-going projects are now being paid for by the ARRA, it hasn’t done really anything.

I know your job is to get a lot of posts on your blog so you right dumb stuff to get people riled up, but really how can you really take yourself seriously?

Gm

October 13th, 2010
9:48 am

Please can some conservative answer this question? Bush lost 5 million jobs under his administration, what did he do to stimpulate this economy ?

Bob

October 13th, 2010
9:50 am

Granny 8:27, why was my comment over the top ? Have you not heard of the 800k spent on this genital washing or should I just not mention it ?
What did that spending stimulate ?

Sean

October 13th, 2010
9:52 am

In the last line…
“The new rehab center, which is expected to open in November 2001″

Do you mean November 2010? Otherwise… this rehab center was open for 9 years already.

RGB

October 13th, 2010
9:52 am

As you know, when the government spends one tax dollar the economic benefit is about $0.64 whereas when the private sector (aka taxpayers) keeps the dollar the multiplier is about 1.64. In other words the dollar produces a benefit of $1.64.

So when you claim “the stimulus helped Georgia” that may technically be true–but we (and successive generations) will pay a price that turns off the economic engine of this country.

Is party allegiance so important that you have to always spin everything? These days more people are interested in the truth.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
9:53 am

Keep up the good fight!
October 13th, 2010
9:34 am

“teleprompter nonsense”

So Walter Mondale is part of the conservative “nonsense”?

Grumpy

October 13th, 2010
9:53 am

And where will the money come from to operate this new, larger facility in the midst of a recession? Is more stimulus headed our way?

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
9:54 am

Gm
October 13th, 2010
9:48 am

I give up. What DID Bush do to “stimplulate” the economy? :lol:

stw

October 13th, 2010
9:55 am

CT: How fortunate Georgia is to have someone as knowledgeable, beautiful, honest, and gullible as you to lead us out of the darkness and over the cliff..

Monir Edwan

October 13th, 2010
9:55 am

KUTHGF- OMG dude- I found this- what are your thoughts? The Obama campaign received a substantial amount of money from countries that have an interest in seeing a weak American President: $366,708.22 from China, $25,259.00 from the United Arab Emirates, $7,062.60 from Russia, and $6,716.28 from Saudi Arabia. Obama also took in $6,350.00 from Indonesia, $5,000.00 from Kenya, and $1,750.00 from Egypt

Nothing Is Free

October 13th, 2010
9:58 am

Temp jobs that cost millions.

Democrats:

Hurting millions to help dozens.

dawg

October 13th, 2010
9:58 am

CYNTHIA: Haven’t heard you say anything about the proposed 1% tax on everything proposed by the W/H to pay for the debt. Of course, the vote would be after the elections and during the lame duch session so those defeated dems could once again do the Messiah’s bidding with no recourse..

Mr MBA

October 13th, 2010
9:58 am

“Now it’s time for the private market that conservatives tout to start creating those jobs — i.e. banks lend and corporations invest the cash they are sitting on.”

And when the liberals take the hand-cuffs off then big business will probably do just that.

Bob

October 13th, 2010
9:59 am

GM, Bush did not stimulate anything and he was no conservative. He is gone now, move on. I will point out that after Pelosi took over, spending skyrocketed and Bush was their best friend when Bush wanted the bailout.

granny godzilla

October 13th, 2010
9:59 am

pats back

i guess she changed her mind about this blog being worthless!

whooppee

Good Grief

October 13th, 2010
10:00 am

Wow, only $5k from Kenya. You would think that his home country would’ve given more. Hey, I didn’t say it. Michelle Obama stated in 2008, “When we took our trip to Africa and visited his home country in Kenya, we took a public HIV test.”

stw

October 13th, 2010
10:01 am

FLASH: Braves out of playoffs because of Bush…

kayaker 71

October 13th, 2010
10:01 am

Edwan,

In addition to the 15.9M that Bozo got from BP. The last I heard, that is a fairly large energy company based in the UK.

granny godzilla

October 13th, 2010
10:01 am

Keep

I know. I keep seeing the same old silliness.

We could do the right wing parts in this play without them altogether.

Just insure socialism, teleprompter, community activist etc appear in each post.

Voila!

You righties can retire. We can take it from here.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
10:02 am

stw
October 13th, 2010
10:01 am

That Bush Conrad guy really did do us in, didn’t he? :cool:

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
10:03 am

granny godzilla
October 13th, 2010
10:01 am

If the righties retire then you lefties wouldn’t have anyone to tax to pay for your entitlement programs.

Take Back the USA

October 13th, 2010
10:03 am

Mantra for All – “REMEMBER IN NOVEMBER”…

20 Dayzzz till we can tell Obummer & his sheep to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine!!

CT & Her Lib sheep on this thread – a question to you… Just what persons running for re- election are running on the podium of:

I Voted for the ’stimlus’ plan??
I Voted for OBummer’s Health Care reform (Deform)?

If you name any – You are a liar.. There are NONE!!

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
10:04 am

granny godzilla
October 13th, 2010
10:01 am

Oh yeah, when did Walter Mondale become a “rightie”?

Russ555

October 13th, 2010
10:07 am

It’s past time to consider where we would be without the stimulus. Much worse off. It’s easy to lookk at where we are and say things are bad, therefore the stimulus didn’t work. That’s a pretty simplistic way to think. We can do better than that.

Al Gore

October 13th, 2010
10:08 am

When is the Barry Manilow – All the Best CD scheduled for release?

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
10:08 am

Take Back the USA
October 13th, 2010
10:03 am

Be careful, though, the dems could make it the “disaster in December” or “juked in January”. If you want to she the absolute worst in political shenanigans, just see what the dems will try between the November election and January transition.

DebbieDoRight

October 13th, 2010
10:09 am

Seems my comment is in “moderation” don’t know why so I’ll break it up and start over.

Bob: Debbie, you asked how many jobs were created and I responded

You responded by blaming Dems — but you never answered the question which was, “How many jobs have the repubs created?” Still waiting….

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
10:10 am

Update – 13 miners out. Things are moving quickly.

DebbieDoRight

October 13th, 2010
10:10 am

Bob: now you are asking about the deficit.

Wasnt asking just stated a fact and an observation.

Yes, we have had a deficit for many years going back to a dem congress that first gave us one

Before the dems took over WHO was in control of the HOUSE, the SENATE and the Presidency? (this is a 10 point question, let’s see if you can answer this one)……(the jeopardy theme song is playing in the background……..stil waiting…….)

DebbieDoRight

October 13th, 2010
10:11 am

Bob: that has nothing to do with how many jobs were created by repubs in ‘07

Well then why won’t you answer the question then? HOW MANY were create by the Repubs Before, During and AFTER 2007 while they repubs held the HOUSE, SENATE and Presidency?

Kamchak

October 13th, 2010
10:12 am

we spend more on welfare than we did the wars dummy!

And the fact that we spent any money at all invading a country that did not attack us is the point that went whooshing over your head.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
10:13 am

DebbieDoRight
October 13th, 2010
10:11 am

Better check your facts. The repubs did not control congress after 2007.

The Thin Guy

October 13th, 2010
10:13 am

I’ve received more help from Preparation H. You don’t have to be an economist to understand that if the government keeps printing money and dropping it from the sky that what ever money you have has less purchasing power. Ten years from now when a cheeseburger and a cup of coffee cost $ 50 maybe the lesson will settle in. But CT will find a way to blame it on those rascally republicans.

DebbieDoRight

October 13th, 2010
10:14 am

Better check your facts. The repubs did not control congress after 2007

Where did I say that?

ctucker

October 13th, 2010
10:15 am

Jack@8:11, What is a “make do” job?

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
10:15 am

DebbieDoRight
October 13th, 2010
10:14 am

Good grief, reread your 10:11

ctucker

October 13th, 2010
10:16 am

Good Grief@8:19, If jobs are created by the signage, what difference does it make?Somebody has to manufacture the signs.

The Leg Lamp is a "major award", much like Cynthia Tucker's Pulitzer and Obama's Nobel.

October 13th, 2010
10:16 am

ctucker
October 13th, 2010
10:15 am

Ooooh, ooooh, let me answer. The best example of a “make do” job right now in our current POTUS.

ctucker

October 13th, 2010
10:17 am

Bob@8:25, The building needed to be built. And what the hell are you talking about with “African men”?

ctucker

October 13th, 2010
10:19 am

So Poor Boy @8:50, you are arguing that the stimulus bill should have been larger? A trillion?

ctucker

October 13th, 2010
10:20 am

ttm@9:)1, Has the writer of this comment actually read the article?

itpdude

October 13th, 2010
10:20 am

Let’s get this straight: The Republicans say they love American, but they hate Americans. The word of Americans being helped by the stimulus generally makes a Republican bristle under the guise of fiscal responsibility.

Of course, the GOP consistently manages to run up the debt, so the whole “fiscal responsibility” thing rings hollow.

The argument that the GOP simply hates Americans (yet claims to love America) looks stronger and stronger. . . .

Rafe Hollister

October 13th, 2010
10:21 am

Sin-thee: You are right the stimulus did help Georgia, so did Go Fish Georgia. When is the column on Go Fish GA going to be published?

I built a barn last year, that helped too. Pictures available on request.

Hillary

October 13th, 2010
10:22 am

Cynthia -

Your editorials are nothing but a regurgitation of the Democratic talking point memos. Do you honestly believe what your write?

Hil