White House Report: Recovery Act Saved Millions of Jobs, Boosted Economic Growth

By Jaketapper

Jul 14, 2010 1:08pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: The Obama Administration said today that its economic policies, especially the Recovery Act, have boosted growth and employment in the United States at a pace quicker than anticipated. As polls show that Americans are increasingly concerned about the state of the economy, Vice President Biden repeated a mantra that has been heard quite often from him, President Obama and other administration officials – the policies they put in place are working to turn things around. “We knew if we didn't act and we didn't act boldly, the best estimates were telling us that we would lose another 4 to 5 million jobs immediate — in that year,” the vice president said. “Well, we did act, and I stand before you today to say to you that not only the recovery act, which we're talking about here in this quarterly report to the Congress, but the economic initiatives we took, they are working.” Today Biden heaped credit on the Recovery Act as the driver behind economic growth. “We would be barely growing at all, were it not to have passed in the first place and been implemented,” he said in an event at the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building.  A quarterly report from the White House’ Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) states that the Recovery Act has raised employment by between 2.5 million and 3.6 million jobs and raised the nation’s GDP last quarter by between 2.7 percent-3.2 percent. “By this estimate, the recovery act has met the president's goal of saving or creating 3-1/2 million jobs two quarters earlier than anticipated,” said chair of the CEA, Christina Romer. “Everyone now acknowledges there would be somewhere between 2.5 (million) and 3.6 million fewer jobs available today, fewer people working today, were it not for the Recovery Act,” Biden said. The CEA report says that after the stimulus act went into effect, “the trajectory of the economy changed dramatically. Real GDP began to grow steadily starting in the third quarter of 2009 and private payroll employment has increased by nearly 600,000 since its low point in December 2009. It also notes that the impact of the stimulus act “increased substantially” in the first quarter of 2010 and again in the second quarter and that government investments in infrastructure, clean energy projects and technology increased by roughly 50 percent between the first six months of this year. The full CEA report can be found here: Romer touted the success the Recovery Act has had with partnering public investment with private and other funds. “We find that roughly $100 billion of recovery act funds use leverage and that these provisions are encouraging co- investment in a wide range of areas,” she said, citing clean energy, economic development and building construction as the main areas where this is evident. “We estimate that the $100 billion in recovery act funds will partner with close to 300 billion (dollars) of other funds, the majority of which are from the private sector. That is, $1 of recovery act funds is matched by almost $3 of other funds.” Biden compared Obama’s actions on the Recovery Act to that of President Abraham Lincoln establishing the Union Pacific Railroad Company in the middle of the Civil War. “You say, Joe, what's that have to do with anything? Well, the idea was that the federal government provide initial funding for a company and for the start of a major transportation infrastructure project,” the vice president said. “I'm not saying it would have never happened, but it would not have happened in the 1860s, 1870s, or 1880s,” he added. “It all started with the federal government making the down payment. Private capital poured in, and the industries created, that literally changed our way of life and grew this nation.” -Karen Travers

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