When it comes to keeping track of the score in Washington, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is commonly considered to be as independent as they come. As one noted Republican Member of Congress said, CBO “speak[s] the truth to power here in Washington” and does “an important service by telling us the facts.” As the Recovery Act hit the one-year mark last week, you may have seen some Washington game-playing about its effectiveness. Well now, once again, the CBO, has spoken.
There was already a strong consensus that the Recovery Act is working (see this summary), but in case you need any more proof, check out today’s new report from the CBO (pdf). According to their analysis, the Act has created or saved up to 2.1 million jobs as of the fourth quarter of last year.
Or take another example: last Friday, Macroeconomic Advisers, a prominent private-sector forecasting firm, posted this entry on their blog about the impact of the Act: “the definitive answer: it works.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
Mark Zandi, a former economic advisor to John McCain, also recently reviewed the evidence and wrote, “the stimulus did what it was supposed to do: short-circuit the recession and spur recovery.”
Let’s be clear: we want the world to know the objective, empirical facts about the Recovery Act, most notably that two million folks are on the job because of it. But we also know that the hole in the job market left by the Great Recession is a lot bigger than that, and I assure you, everyone here is focused on finding the best ideas to make sure that every American who wants to work can find it.
Day in and day out, the President consistently stresses the urgent need to build off of the successes of the Recovery Act in bringing the economy back from the brink and moving forward with targeted proposals to jumpstart job creation, and we are working closely with the Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate to get that done. The bipartisan vote in the Senate yesterday on their jobs bill is an important step forward, and we’re going to keep at it until the great American job machine is back up and running.
Jared Bernstein is Chief Economist to Vice President Biden, and Executive Director of the Middle Class Task Force