CBO Contradicts GOP Stimulus Claims

CBO Contradicts GOP Stimulus Claims

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Question for Congressional Republicans: Is the Congressional Budget Office a reliable source of data? The GOP often turns to the nonpartisan budgeting arm of Congress for the numbers they use to lambaste the size of the economic stimulus. In a speech yesterday, top House Republican John Boehner continued to pile on the stimulus:

"Right now, America’s employers are afraid to invest in an economy stalled by ‘stimulus’ spending and hamstrung by uncertainty," Boehner said. "…All this ‘stimulus’ spending has gotten us nowhere…."

But the CBO's numbers tell a different story. In a new report on the stimulus, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, CBO says it raised the level of GDP by between 1.7 and 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2010. In the same time frame, it lowered unemployment by between 0.7 and 1.8 percent, increasing overall employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million people.

CBO notes that these numbers are bigger than job creation figures reported by the direct recipients of ARRA money, which total about 750,000 full-time equivalent jobs. But that doesn't track all of the money's trickle-down effects or the impact of tax cuts, which made up more than $200 billion of the stimulus's cost.

As we noted last week, the total cost is now at $814 billion, up from its original estimate of $787 billion.

On the tax front, many Republicans don't accept CBO's accounting that extending expiring tax cuts has a deficit impact. Last week CBO said extending the cuts enacted under President Bush would add $2.7 trillion to the debt.

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