The recent Seventh Quarterly Report released by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers has sparked a war of words in the US as politicians and political observers from the opposing parties battle over the interpretation of the report.
According to the report, the US has spent nearly US$666 billion dollars on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) since 2009, with 2.4 million jobs having been created as a direct result of the ARRA.
Jeffrey H. Anderson of the Weekly Standard, a conservative publication, was the first to jump on the figures, reporting that the ARRA would have meant “a cost to taxpayers of US$278,000 per job.
The Weekly Standard article was immediately picked upon by Republican politicians such as House Speaker John Boehner who tweeted that the “economy would be generating job growth faster if Dems hadn’t passed the ‘stimulus’”.
Accordingly, the Obama administration has been quick to respond. White House spokesperson Liz Oxhorn pointed out:
Similarly, Jack Tapper of ABC News noted that the math was “flawed” and that the figures did not include “the permanent infrastructure in the computation, thus producing an inflated figure.”
Nevertheless, some of the numbers in the report have been troubling. Unemployment actually rose during the stimulus period from 7.3 percent to 9.1 percent – failing to keep levels below the targeted rate of 8 percent. The US national debt has also risen from US$9.986 trillion to US$14.467 trillion and is expected to rise even further in the future.
Story From Washington Post