Among Republicans, it's taken as a given that President Obama's Recovery Act -- a.k.a., the "stimulus" -- was a failed Keynesian experiment. Among many voters, it's also widely assumed that the effort to get the economy back on track simply did not work.
Among those who know what they're talking about, however, there is no real doubt that the stimulus was a success. Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, reminded Congress of this inconvenient truth yesterday.
Did the stimulus work? Certainly not according to Republicans, who regularly blast President Obama's "failed" economic policies on the campaign trail. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has called the $787 billion package of temporary tax cuts and spending hikes "the largest one-time careless expenditure of government money in American history."
But on Wednesday, under questioning from skeptical Republicans, the director of the nonpartisan (and widely respected) Congressional Budget Office was emphatic about the value of the 2009 stimulus. And, he said, the vast majority of economists agree.