Two important questions with relevance to the 2012 presidential campaign:
1.) Did the 2009 stimulus bill create jobs and lower the unemployment rate, or was it a waste of taxpayers’ money?
2.) In the final accounting, will the benefits of the Obama stimulus package end up outweighing its costs and risks?
The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business put those questions to more than 40 of the top economists in the country, representing a wide range of viewpoints.
(The Booth School itself, one of the most respected business schools in the country, has long been associated with a more conservative emphasis on free markets).
Here’s what they found:
“Question A: Because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate was lower at the end of 2010 than it would have been without the stimulus bill. Agree or disagree?”
Eighty percent agreed. Four percent disagreed. And the two who disagreed acknowledged that they were far from certain in their opinion.
The results of the second question, while less overwhelming, were still strongly supportive of the policy:
“Question B: Taking into account all of the ARRA’s economic consequences — including the economic costs of raising taxes to pay for the spending, its effects on future spending, and any other likely future effects — the benefits of the stimulus will end up exceeding its costs. Agree or disagree?”
Forty-six percent agreed; just 12 percent disagreed. Another 29 percent said they were uncertain or ventured no opinion.
By a 4-1 margin, in a poll conducted by a respected institution with a conservative reputation, a cross section of the nation’s most respected economists believe that the stimulus would prove to be a net positive for the economy, even after it is paid back. By a margin of 20-1, they believe that it produced jobs and lowered the unemployment rate.
Of course, I understand that such things must be weighed against the fact that Rush and Sean have very different opinions.
– Jay Bookman