On Feb. 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law one of the largest packages of tax cuts and spending measures in US history.
A year later and halfway through the plan's implementation, Americans are weighing the recovery act's impact on a stubbornly high unemployment rate and the longest and deepest economic recession in nearly 80 years.
Here are some facts:
- So far, USD 179 billion in the plan has been spent and USD 93 billion in tax cuts have been issued. Another USD 154 billion is in the process of being sent out, and USD 247 billion is left to spend. The remainder comes in tax cuts yet to be granted.
- The Congressional Budget Office revised its cost estimate for the recovery act up to USD 862 billion from USD 787 billion last month.
- More than USD 8 billion from the plan has been spent on increased food stamps, as the assistance program for the hungry recently reached a record enrollment of 38 million people.
- By the end of December, the Department of Transportation approved 10,000 highway projects. Of the USD 34.1 billion the department has made available to states, it has only paid out USD 8.63 billion.
- The plan increased unemployment benefit payments and extended extra payments for those who could not find work when their regular benefits were exhausted through the end of 2009. Recently, Congress pushed the expiration date of both programs to Feb. 28.
- Nearly USD 280 billion of the spending will be directed through state governments, including a USD 48 billion stabilization fund to help states balance their budgets.
- According to figures provided by those who received grants and loans from the plan, 595,263 jobs were created or saved by the plan in the final three months of 2009. A previous report, which had used a different method of calculation, said it had saved 640,239 jobs in the prior quarter.
- The White House Council of Economic Advisers estimated there would have been 1.5 million to 2 million fewer jobs in 2009 if not for the stimulus funds.
- In January, the US employment rate stood at 9.7%. A year earlier, when Congress was negotiating the stimulus plan, it had just reached 7.7%.
- In the fourth quarter of 2009 U.S. gross domestic product grew 5.7%, with two quarters of growth bringing hope that the economy was pulling out of recession.
Sources: USDA, www.recovery.gov, ProPublica, U.S. Census, Labor Department, Congressional Budget Office
READ MORE ON President, Barack Obama, tax cuts, spending measures, US history, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, unemployment rate, Congressional Budget Office, unemployment benefit payments
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