A Matter Of Opinion

Stimulus/Fed report card

Most economists in this Wall Street Journal survey said the economy would be worse without stimulus. The Fed gets the most credit.

Thirty-eight of the 54 surveyed economists, not all of whom answered every question, said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act boosted growth and mitigated job losses, while six said the legislation had a net negative effect.

On average, economists estimated that the stimulus added one percentage point to growth in 2009; they forecast gross domestic product would expand 3% this year, compared with 2.2% in the absence of stimulus. They estimated that the February unemployment rate, reported at 9.7% last week, would have been 10.4% without the stimulus.

But the Fed's interventions likely played a bigger role in pulling the economy out of its tailspin, economists said. In their paper, Messrs. Sinai and Edelstein estimated that the Fed's actions boosted GDP growth by 1.9 percentage points in 2009 and would add 3.3 points this year.

Sound about right to you? What would've been a better course of action?

 




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Gary Crooks
Associate Editor Gary Crooks writes opinion columns and editorials; edits letters and other copy for the Opinion pages.

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