(Revised) The Stimulus Bill 5 Years Later

After a speedy five years, the U.S. can finally look back at the $787 billion stimulus law that was passed 246 to 183, with just 7 Democrats voting against it. Whether you think the law has made a significant impact on the U.S. or not, our country is still in a hole of debt. Many experts thought that the law would help turn our debt around and decrease the unemployment rate. But after a speedy five years, we are still in tremendous debt and many believe our unemployment rate has decreased because Americans have stopped looking for jobs. Where exactly did the entire $787 billion go? Nevertheless, our government had a plan, which was to bring back our economy, and overall I believe it truly has…to an extent.

“The goal at the heart of this plan is to create jobs. Not just any jobs, but jobs doing the work America needs done: repairing our infrastructure, modernizing our schools and hospitals, and promoting the clean, alternative energy sources that will help us finally declare independence from foreign oil,” President  Obama stated back in 2009.

The White House said on Monday that the law “saved or created an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years” and it raised the country’s GDP by between 2% and 3% from 2009 through mid-2011. “The spending ‘initiated’ 15,000 transportation projects and helped with the construction or improvement of nearly 6,000 miles of railway lines,” the Wall Street Journal mentions. Not only have we seen the stimulus money help in these types of areas, but at this point in time we have seen a have a long term positive effect on our economy. Our nation has seen a stabilization of mortgage debts, which is the biggest piece of household borrowing. We have also seen more Americans borrowing in general, whether it has been for education or cars. I believe many Americans are feeling more confident again especially with the rising stock prices.

That being said, there have also been some major improvements in the stock market as well. We have seen record highs through quantitative easing as investors have seemed to ignore earnings thanks to the Fed pumping the stimulus money into the market. But that is also something to look out for with our economy another year from now; if earnings don’t catch up, we are going to have a serious correction in the market.

The unemployment rate has been one of the major topics when looking back on the stimulus bill. The unemployment rate has dropped below 7% from a peak of 10% in October 2009, but that is also because so many people have stopped looking for work. Although the stimulus bill has provided many construction jobs to build infrastructure, many Americans have still been asking “where are the jobs?”

Where exactly are the new jobs? Besides construction, what are the other main jobs that have been created or saved? As far as I’m concerned, I don’t believe businesses have truly been hiring a surplus of Americans in recent years. Another problem that I believe was not taken into account was research, especially in the field of technology. The president stated back in 2009 that the money was also going towards promoting clean, alternative energy sources. However, “Republicans criticized a loan guarantee funded by the stimulus that went to Solyndra LLC, a solar-panel manufacturer that filed for bankruptcy in 2011. Unfortunately, now we see where other portions of the $787 billion went.

House Speaker John Boehner described the situation in a statement on Monday saying “a new normal of slow growth has set in.”

Maybe we have seen a new normal of slow growth set in, which has been the main cause to our ‘somewhat’ positive turnaround. But in retrospect, America went through a serious recession back in 2008. Something had to be done to help the country get back on its feet. Although the large stimulus law may not have solved all the country’s problems, the economy has indeed begun to move forward again.