Stimulus Bill Worked

David Leonhardt of The New York Times writes today:

Imagine if, one year ago, Congress had passed a stimulus bill that really worked.

Let’s say this bill had started spending money within a matter of weeks and had rapidly helped the economy. Let’s also imagine it was large enough to have had a huge impact on jobs — employing something like two million people who would otherwise be unemployed right now.

If that had happened, what would the economy look like today?

Well, it would look almost exactly as it does now. Because those nice descriptions of the stimulus that I just gave aren’t hypothetical. They are descriptions of the actual bill.

He goes on to report that respected economic research firms IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody's "all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs."

Noting that the case against the stimulus bill centers around the notion that the economy would be no worse without it, Leonhardt, points out the bill's "footprints" in most any area of the economy. And in contrast to historical financial crises in which unemployment has tended to rise for nearly five years, in the current case the jobless rate is expected to begin falling by the end of this year.

Read the whole article.