Personally, I don’t think so. The joblessness rate is still over 9%, and those “shovel-ready” jobs weren’t as finally recognized by Mr. Obummer. And then I ran across this over at Reason.com:
Still, more than 7 million jobs have disappeared from the economy since Barack Obama took office. He will be only the second president since Herbert Hoover to face re-election with fewer people working than when he started. (George W. Bush was the other.) So it seems fair to ask whether stimulus projects have increased the net number of jobs in the United States—or whether they simply have moved a diminishing number of jobs around.
Analogy time. Consider a robber who steals a purse containing $500, who then uses the money to buy himself a new TV. It is categorically undeniable that the theft has created a sale for the TV store. Conservatives who pretend the stimulus has not created any jobs whatsoever stand in the position of an observer trying to deny the TV has been sold.
Yet the liberal analysis lacks any recognition that the purse owner now has $500 less to spend on the laptop computer she was going to buy. The theft has generated one sale only by destroying another.
The first effect is easily seen. The second is not. But only the economically illiterate would conclude that just the first effect occurred, and that therefore the way to increase consumption is to encourage more purse-stealing. So in addition to looking at the number of jobs created or saved by the stimulus, shouldn’t we also consider the number of jobs destroyed or forestalled?
Who’s the thief in the night stealing our purses? I’ll give you one guess…