Two Years Later: Impacts of Select ARRA Programs for Low-Income Workers & Families
Feb 17, 2011 | CLASP
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On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed the historic American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law. The $787 billion infusion of money into the economy was designed to create jobs immediately, aid the nation's struggling families, and lay the groundwork for future economic growth. At the time, the nation was in a deep recession, with hundreds of thousands of jobs disappearing every month, and the political climate was ripe for government to step in and help stimulate the economy. Today, the economy has stabilized, but unemployment remains at unacceptably high levels. However, the tone in the nation's capital has changed, and discussion of deficit reduction has drowned out calls for job creation. While we agree the nation must restore balance to the budget, we maintain that a focus on cutting domestic, discretionary programs that in the short- and long-term benefit the nation's most vulnerable families is not the way to do it.
This document looks at select provisions in the Recovery Act that affected low-income people and their families. In areas where there is available data, it notes the impact of the program or the number of people who benefited from ARRA provisions. While the effect of the Recovery Act will be debated and analyzed by policy experts and researchers for years to come, some of the early evidence makes it clear that the Recovery Act benefited the nation by easing some immediate effects of the recession and preventing deeper hardship.