Six months after the new administration and Congress ushered through a two-year $787 billion stimulus plan to revive America’s economy, conflicting numbers fuel arguments for both proponents and critics. An administration team, led by President Obama, is touting the recovery act’s success, citing a recent gross-domestic-product report that showed the economy contracting at a slower rate. But unemployment, especially in hard-hit areas, is still high.
On August 13, a panel of Brookings experts weighed the evidence and discussed whether the stimulus package is working, based on a broad set of criteria. Moderated by the New York Times’ Jackie Calmes, the panel delved into whether the money was strategically deployed to invigorate the nation’s economy, to create jobs and to advance school reform. The discussion concluded with a look at next steps.