“The nearly $1.9 trillion relief package heading for House passage Wednesday is projected to help propel the U.S. economy to its fastest annual growth in nearly four decades, reduce poverty and revive inflation,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The legislation—following trillions of dollars in federal aid last year and arriving amid rising Covid-19 vaccination rates—prompted economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal in recent days to boost their average forecast for 2021 economic growth to 5.95%, measured from the fourth quarter of last year to the same period this year. That was up from their 4.87% projection last month and would be the U.S. economy’s fastest since a 7.9% burst in 1983.”
The one thing we learned is we can’t do too much here. We can do too little. We can do too little and sputter.”
— President Joe Biden, quoted by Bloomberg, meeting with House Democratic leaders and committee chairs on the Covid-19 relief package.
“We can’t hold back … Trying to be per se fiscally responsible at this point in time with what we’ve got going on in this country. If we actually throw away some money right now, so what?”
— West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R), calling for a big stimulus package in a CNN interview.
“White House officials are asking Senate Republican leadership to include stimulus checks worth $600 in the emergency economic relief package currently being debated in Congress,” the Washington Post reports.
“The number of people who applied for U.S. jobless benefits fell 23,000 to 264,000 in the week that ended Oct. 11, hitting the lowest level since April 2000, showing that employers are laying off few workers, according to government data released Thursday,” Marketwatch reports. April 2000 was three months after Pres. Clinton left office. The chart above from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employment never recovered during the six years Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. The chart also shows that unemployment surged in advance of the financial collapse on Bush’s watch and only began to recover very slowly after the Stimulus kicked in. It’s impossible to say how much more quickly employment might have rebounded if Republicans in Congress and GOP governors hadn’t deliberately stalled the recovery by cutting funding to government services and employment.
More from Marketwatch:
Last week Congressman Paul Ryan was caught lying about the fact that after he voted against the stimulus bill he requested at least $25 million in stimulus funding for his district. Now, via Huffington Post, we learn that in 2002 he was a strong advocate of Republican efforts to pass George Bush’s stimulus bills:
On Tuesday, the Boston Globe and Associated Press reported on documents showing that GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan had secured more than $20 million in stimulus funds for a local energy efficiency organization.
According to the reports, the documents showed that Ryan also brought in $5.4 million for local bus services. His requests came at the same time he was publicly calling the stimulus a “wasteful spending spree.”
However, in an interview with a local Ohio television news station, Ryan claimed he never secured funding through the program, saying “I never asked for stimulus.”
The Associated Press wrote a follow-up story to Ryan’s comments:
Transcript from the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Sept. 8, 2011:
RACHEL MADDOW at 03:32: In December 2009, the White House recognized that we needed more stimulus — that we had done some good with the previous stimulus but more was needed. The problem was really bad. But nothing materialized. We got health [care] reform but we didn’t get a second stimulus.
There has essentially been no additional stimulus for the economy since [the first round in early 2009].
And since then — here’s the most important thing — since then, we have also learned that the whole problem that the stimulus was designed to address — the whole economic problem was way, way worse than we thought it was, even when we thought it was really bad.
Remember how I said the economy shrank by half a percent in the third quarter of 2008? Shrank by half a percent in the third quarter of 2008. That’s what we originally thought.
Turns out it did not shrink by half a percent. It actually shrank by 3.7 percent.
Remember that big, scary 3.8 percent that we thought that economy shrank by in the last quarter of 2008? Turns out it wasn’t 3.8 percent. Actually it was 8.9 percent. That is not a typo. That’s how fast the economy was shrinking.
Republicans look at this chain of events and say, “Ah, see, well the Stimulus didn’t work.”
Everybody else looks at these numbers and says, “Well, the Stimulus did something, but giuven what we now know about what we were up against, it’s clear that it was not enough.”
It’s clear that we actually did need that second round of stimulus the president was sort of pushing for back in December 2009, but not that hard.
What we’re seeing now in the economy is the effect of not getting further stimulus. Not only that the economy has proven to be resiliently bad, but also because it was way worse than we thought it was when we initially designed the things we that we were going to do to try to fix it.
The hope is that it is not too late. But time’s up and we gotta do something.