The Recovery Act Blog

  • The Myth of Idle Recovery Dollars

    John Boehner wants a lot of people to lose their jobs.

    We were awfully surprised to hear Rep. Boehner come out for killing jobs en masse in his own state and district by stopping the Recovery Act on last Sunday’s news shows. 

    Though we’re sure he didn’t know it, the Congressman is advocating to kill the expansion of the Butler County Community Health Center and bring some of the twenty-five highway projects across the district to a grinding halt.  Across the state of Ohio, he said that approximately 4 million working families should get an unexpected cut in their paycheck as the Making Work Pay tax credit disappears, unemployed workers should go without unemployment benefits, and major Ohio road projects like the US-33 Nelsonville Bypass project and the Cleveland Innerbelt Modernization project should be stalled or stopped.  Oh, and some of the more than 100 clean energy Recovery projects employing workers across the state should be shut down.

  • Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore a Stimulus Success Story; Project to Add Desperately Needed Highway Capacity

    Cross-posted from the Department of Transportation's blog.

    Yesterday, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez went to Oakland to mark the beginning of what he called "a fascinating and critical phase" of the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore project.

    You may remember a blog post earlier in the year marking the launch of this important addition to the Caldecott Tunnel. Well, this week, with the groundwork complete, the crew brings out the big machine--a road header--and the actual tunnel bore begins.

    If you're a fan of transportation infrastructure, you know that's when things get interesting. Because a road header is not just any machine. It's a 130-ton rock-crunching, rotating cutting head built at the end of a boom that will push it though the bedrock of the Berkeley Hills.

    Administrator Mendez (right) stands beneath the road header with project manager Bill Monahan.

    But, for the many workers hired to prepare the site for the tunnel bore, it's been plenty interesting since January simply because they've had jobs.

  • USDA and the Commerce Department Supporting Broadband Access and Economic Opportunity Across America through the Recovery Act

    When Congress passed and the President signed the Recovery Act, they made a $7.2 billion commitment to improving this country’s broadband infrastructure.  They understood broadband will be an essential piece of a successful 21st century economy.  But it can only be so if we deploy networks that offer all Americans quality service, while also teaching the skills to use broadband and encouraging its use to promote our national priorities, including education, health care, energy, and public safety.

    Together, we’re excited to be moving quickly to make these goals a reality. Today, the Department of Agriculture is awarding roughly $1.2 billion for 126 projects across the country to connect homes, businesses, and critical community institutions like hospitals and police stations, that don't currently have adequate access. 

  • Help Where It's Needed

    To get the correct answer, you’ve got to ask the right question. 

    An article in USA Today mistakenly concludes that Recovery Act benefits are not reaching the communities that need the help.  Now you might reasonably ask whether the 3 million or so people working because of the Recovery Act live in places where they don’t need those jobs – kind of an absurd proposition.  And it’s also the case that USA Today reaches this conclusion using some incomplete data to begin with - but the article also makes two mistakes: First, USA Today fails to separate out programs directly keyed to joblessness, and second, they conflate state unemployment with need. 

    Before going into the details, it’s important to reflect on this second shortcoming, because it’s a fundamental flaw in their analysis.  We put recovery projects where they’re needed, regardless of a state’s unemployment rate.  We build roads where roads are needed, we clean up superfund sites where they are located and we repair schools where schools need fixing.  

  • There They Go Again: Two Senators Continue False and Misleading Attacks on Recovery Act

    This morning two senators—John McCain and Tom Coburn—released their third report critiquing 100 Recovery Act projects. And just like the last two, this one was an inaccurate and misleading attack on programs that are putting Americans to work across the nation. I’ll present some details in a moment, but it’s very unfortunate that, once again, instead of trying to help create the conditions for stronger growth, to help build on the momentum of the Recovery Act, McCain and Coburn spend their valuable time cooking up phony critiques and, with their Republican colleagues, blocking votes of even bipartisan measures to help small businesses.

    Let’s start with the bigger picture. Just last week two prominent, independent economists released a rigorous study on how actions by the government (and the Federal Reserve), including the Recovery Act, helped to end the Great Recession. One of the authors—Mark Zandi—was one of McCain’s top advisers during his presidential bid. He and Alan Blinder (a former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve) found that the Recovery Act has created or saved about 2.7 million jobs so far, and shaved about a point and a half off of the unemployment rate.

  • How the Recovery Act is Affecting Small Business Innovation

    Cross posted from the Energy Blog.

    We invest in our country’s small businesses because small businesses invest back in our economy. With small businesses creating nearly two out of every three net new jobs, you probably have a friend, neighbor or family member who makes their livelihood by working for a small business. These employees enter an environment that supports innovation and ingenuity, as small businesses invest in research and new programs to spur economic growth and reduce our country’s energy usage.

    Last week, I wrote about our Phase III awards, $30 million in funding available to be awarded to help qualified small businesses bring their ideas to the marketplace. Today, we are showcasing the results of our Phase II awards -- over 200 awards totaling $188 million have been awarded to qualified small businesses in 34 states. These awards will be used to develop clean energy technologies that have the potential to be commercialized, thus continuing to allow the small businesses to create new jobs in their communities. These awards will provide funding at a key stage in the technology development cycle, helping innovators develop prototype technologies that can then be manufactured, creating clean energy jobs and economic opportunity.