CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Five years after President Obama signed the stimulus bill into law, lawmakers continue to debate whether or not the program is working. 22News took a closer look at that debate.
It’s been five years since the federal government started pumping billions of dollars into the economy to try and give it a boost.
Since then, national unemployment numbers have fallen out of the double digits, but still linger above 6 and a half percent.
“Everybody’s always calling me, ‘you got extra work?’, ‘Hey, you got extra work?’, ‘you got extra work?’ I used to have it, but I don’t have it anymore,” Mark Santiago, from Springfield, told 22News.
Santiago said there isn’t enough work to keep anyone employed at his handy-man business.
American International College professor of economics, John Rogers, told 22News while there is a lot of political debate surrounding the stimulus program, things like tax cuts for families, helped people out short term.
About 700 billion of those stimulus dollars went towards tax cuts.
The rest of the money was spent on things like rebuilding and upgraded roads and bridges, preventing teacher layoffs, and extending unemployment benefits to give temporary aid to those who lost their jobs.
Rogers also said the last stretch of recovery is in the hands of big companies to revive their spending, but that making them do that isn’t something that can be legislated or forced.
“They have to see the opportunity. And the question is do they see more opportunity in other countries, or do they see more opportunity sitting on their cash than they do putting it back into productive activity here in the United States,” Roger said.
Government officials report businesses have added 8.5 million jobs since early 2010.