Advancing a Free Society

The Empty Chairs at the ARRA Hearing

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two years ago this week the 2009 stimulus package was enacted into law, and, to examine its effects, the House Committee on Oversight—Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs held a hearing chaired by Jim Jordan of Ohio and ranking Member Dennis Kucinich also of Ohio. The first panel of witnesses consisted of Russ Roberts, J.D. Foster and me. All three of us testified that the 2009 package did little if anything to stimulate the economy. (There was also a second panel which I unfortunately missed.)

My testimony focused on the eight quarters of data since the start of the stimulus which have now been made available by the Department of Commerce, updating a recent study by John Cogan and me. The most striking finding of that data is that only .04 percent of GDP in the large $862 billion package went to federal infrastructure spending, and the large amounts of funds sent to the states for infrastructure spending have not resulted in an increase in infrastructure spending.

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