President Obama just now commented on the new GDP numbers (at annualized rate of -1 percent, the economy is still shrinking but less quickly). Obama called the report "better than expected." And who deserves credit for that? Obama said it was "directly attributable to the Recovery Act."
The Bureau of Economic Affairs, which calculates GDP, agrees the $787 billion stimulus played a role.
That's what you get for spending a lot of money. The Congressional Budget Office writes this month:
"Stimulus legislation and efforts to stabilize the financial markets will push primary spending up to 26 percent of GDP this fiscal year, the highest level since World War II;"
There's still debate over how much effect the stimulus spending has had so far — much of the money has yet to be parceled out — and whether another round will be needed. A chunk of the stimulus is in tax relief, which workers see in their regular paychecks. Another $158 billion has been set aside for direct spending around the nation, of which a third has been spent.
Fun time-waster: Recovery.gov, which shows state-by-state projections for jobs saved and money spent, but makes it hard to see how much has been spent overall.