How the "Stimulus" Hurts the Economy

Last February, Congress passed the largest spending bill in history, an $787 billion "stimulus" package that they claimed would kick-start the economy, "create or save 3.5 million jobs" and keep unemployment at or below eight percent.

Shortly before its passage, Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner joined millions of Americans in asking "what will this spending accomplish?" His answer: "Not much."

It's now July, and it is increasingly evident that Feulner was right. Not much has come from the government's spending plan. Not much, that is, aside from skyrocketing unemployment rates and astronomical increases in government debt.

The unemployment rate for the month of June came in at 9.5 percent, following sharp increases each month since the "stimulus" passed. "The stimulus must be judged a failure," writes Heritage economist James Sherk. "Unemployment has risen not only above what the President's advisors predicted would happen if the stimulus passed, but above what they estimated would occur without the stimulus."

In an interview on Sunday with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that the "stimulus" hasn't had the predicted effect on the economy: "The truth is, we and everyone else misread the economy. The figures we worked off in January were the consensus figures and most of the blue chip indexes out there."

Many stimulus proponents attempt to qualify these admissions by arguing that the "stimulus" package is too slow or too small. But the truth remains that massive government spending does not jolt the economy, it stifles it. As one FoxNews reporter explains, "the stimulus made things worse."

The many economic benefits the administration promised with this $800 billion spending plan "remain invisible," writes Sherk. The "recovery" plan is nothing more than what Feulner in February called a "sham 'stimulus.'"

- Amanda Reinecker, The Heritage Foundation

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