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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

First-anniversary stimulus report card

Today marks the anniversary of the signing of President Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan, which was designed to give a boost to a struggling economy and save or create jobs, as he said at the time.

How is it doing, one year in?

Here are some things we factually know about the stimulus:

  • It added significantly to the budget deficit and national debt.

  • It boosted fourth-quarter GDP, which came in at a 5.7 percent annualized rate. How much it goosed the GDP is debatable. A report by Vice President Biden estimates that the stimulus added 1 to 3 percent to the 5.7 percent number.

  • Federal agencies are working like mad to spend the stimulus money as fast as they can. According to this interactive graphic, called a Stimulus Speed Chart, created by ProPublica, some agencies have spent much faster than others. For instance, the Railroad Retirement Board has spent 90 percent of its $156 million share of the stimulus by mailing $250 checks to its retirees.

    Now, here are some claims about the stimulus:

  • Today, Obama said the stimulus saved or created 2 million jobs. In January, the White House claimed the stimulus had saved or created 1.7 million to 2 million jobs. In October, the White House said the stimulus saved or created 640,000 jobs. One month before he signed the law last year, Obama said the stimulus would save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs. (I like to joke that, 10 years from now, we will find out that the $787 billion stimulus saved exactly one job. Or perhaps created it.)

    The one thing we know: No one can say for sure how many jobs have been saved or created. Indeed, Republicans note that, over the past year, as unemployment has risen, 3 million jobs have been lost, despite the stimulus.

    Follow me on Twitter at @theticker

  • By Frank Ahrens  |  February 17, 2010; 3:36 PM ET
    Categories:  Deficit/debt , The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, debt, deficit, stimulus  
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