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Busting a myth about Obama's infrastructure programs

Critics may suggest otherwise, but Recovery Act projects had a tangible effect on the economy

CEA
This chart shows the cumulative spendout on public investment from the Recovery Act. The author argues that projects initiated by the Recovery Act were firmly in the economy by last summer.

One critique you’re beginning to hear about the infrastructure ideas in the President’s jobs proposal is that the Recovery Act’s infrastructure programs were some kind of bust, of never got started, or whatever.

Demonstrably untrue. There’s no question that they did not get up-and-running as quickly as other parts of the program, but here’s a graph of the cumulative spendout on public investment (which includes infrastructure along with other investments like clean energy and health IT).

I’m sure you’ll hear claims to the contrary in coming days as we debate the infrastructure initiatives in the American Jobs Act, but the fact is that these projects were solidly in the economy by last summer. The problem is we needed more of them this summer, and we’ll need more next summer as well.

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