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At what cost?

I read Michael Grunwald's column, "Five myths about the stimulus" in the Aug. 19 Sunday Monitor. I was especially interested in the first myth - that the stimulus didn't create jobs.

Grunwald writes that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act directly created 700,000 construction, research and other jobs. He also notes that economic forecasters estimate that about 2.5 million jobs were created as a result of the stimulus. Taking all this at face value, I think you must take the next step and ask what it cost to create these jobs.

The stimulus package totaled $787 billion or about $1.1 million per person for the 700,000 jobs or about $300,000 per job if you use the 2.5 million figure.

I wonder what would have happened if the government decided to equally allocate the $787 billion to each one of America's 160 million workers? The answer would have been a check for $5,000.


New London’

Legacy Comments1

Your analysis overlooks a few critical facts. When money is spent the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, not only do the workers get paychecks, but we as a society get the benefit of improved roads, safe bridges, new parks, new schools, and so forth. Some may be happy living in a wilderness compound and paying no taxes, but most of us want to live in a community with streets, schools, hospitals, police and firefighters. Those things take money and they take labor. The alternative of giving everyone a $5000 handout does nothing to benefit society, but would encourage idle consumption. Its welfare. From my perspective, it is much more preferable, if our taxes are going to pay people, that we get something back for our buck--like the fruit of their labor.

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