The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama in February 2009, has garnered ample attention from politicians vying for votes in the midterm elections. Conservative candidates are slamming Obama and Democratic members of Congress for signing off on a bill that hasn't met expectations.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the President and his administration were destined for a public perception of failure because of their unrealistic goals. Upon signing the bill, Obama projected that the stimulus would lower the nation's unemployment rate to around 7 percent by November 2010. Last month's figures reveal that the rate is at 9.6 percent.
No Republican Representative and only three Republican Senators voted for the stimulus bill. Most conservatives claim that increased government spending will saddle future generations with debt and drive inflation.
Some groups, however, are claiming that the stimulus package prevented even greater job loss. The Keystone Research Center recently released a report that claimed unemployment rates, without the stimulus funds, would be at 15 percent or higher in most parts of Pennsylvania.
"Federal policies stopped the economic free fall, and policy choices at the national and state level will powerfully shape the future health of the economy for middle-class Pennsylvania families," said Dr. Mark Price, the center's labor economist.
The Inquirer reports that the two previous recessions were also marked with slow recoveries in terms of jobs. In the 1990s, it took 23 months for the job rates to return to prerecession levels. Following the 2001 recession, it took 39 months.