Obama Stimulus

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), better known as the Obama stimulus included many parts that were meant to save American jobs and shore up economic growth. Following standard Keynesian guidelines, the economic stimulus involved the federal government spending hundreds of billions of dollars in order to stimulate economic growth and consumer spending.

The stimulus was designed to attack the great recession of 2008 from all sides and since President Obama had the support of a Democratically controlled Senate and House of Representatives, he was able to get much of what he asked for and the final plan was very much the Obama stimulus.

The economic stimulus included money which was divided between core categories that the President thought were important. These included aid to the unemployed, direct payments, infrastructure, healthcare, education, energy, homeland security and law enforcement. Each of these categories was deemed essential to helping the economy move forward.

Since unemployment was approaching 10{1d2611b7b2358db1a5d290a72f211c932ff29d0dc596ec3bc444512a63e05c32} in 2009 getting relief to the unemployed was essential so the economic stimulus included billions to extend unemployment benefits through 2009 for those at risk of having their benefits expire. The bill also provided a stimulus check of $250 for people on SSI and Social Security. These checks were a direct cash payment to those individuals.

Infrastructure spending has long been seen as a good way to get people to work fast and to create an economic ripple effect across the country. The 2009 stimulus included nearly $50 billion for highway and bridge construction, mass transit, public housing projects and clean and drinking water projects.

In health care, the law provided for a 65{1d2611b7b2358db1a5d290a72f211c932ff29d0dc596ec3bc444512a63e05c32} COBRA subsidy for 9 months to apply to workers who had been laid off between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. This, like the extension of unemployment benefits was designed to help those who could not find work in the deep recession.

The economic stimulus included over $50 billion to prevent education cuts around the country and safe teaching jobs. There was also money for school modernization programs, Pell Grants and Head Start. In addition there was billions for clean energy programs, home weatherization programs, fossil fuel research and other research and development.

For safety, the law included billions for homeland security programs including modernizing airport screening equipment and port security. There was also several billion to state and local governments to hire police officers and to purchase equipment.

In addition, the economic stimulus included many tax changes to lessen the burden on taxpayers and fuel economic growth. These included new tax credits for earners, a fix to the alternative minimum tax, expanded child tax credits and college credits and a robust home energy credit for those who modernized their homes with newer more energy efficient equipment.

In total the Obama stimulus was designed to approach the dire economic situation with a balance of spending programs and tax cuts that would jump start the economy and until that happened would provide a strengthened security net for Americans in need.