Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Will a ‘Pledge to America’ change anything?

John Dimsdale Sep 23, 2010
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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

Will a ‘Pledge to America’ change anything?

John Dimsdale Sep 23, 2010
HTML EMBED:
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TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: What they couldn’t stop in the past couple of years, Republicans are now vowing to reverse — if voters give them the power and put the GOP back in control of the House of Representatives. They’re pledging to slash government spending,
rescind regulations and roll back health care reforms. And, to cancel the nearly $800 billion stimulus program. It was passed back in February of last year, so what would it change now to cancel it? And can we even do that?

We asked our Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale to check it out.


John Dimsdale: At today’s “Pledge to America” press conference, Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling says the stimulus should be canceled because it didn’t work.

Jeb Hensarling: The American people know that after an additional three million of their countrymen have lost their jobs, the only thing the stimulus has stimulated is the national debt.

Polls indicate over 60 percent of Americans don’t think the stimulus helped create jobs. But the Congressional Budget Office found it did improve employment somewhere between 0.8 and 1.7 percent.

A small business loan from the stimulus program helped Mark Gurevich hire five employees for his growing photography equipment rental business in San Carlos, Calif. Gurevich says the loan application was a bit of a pain.

Mark Gurevich: Balance sheet, profit and loss, tax statements for the past three years, personal financial reports. I think it came out to 200 pages worth of stuff in the end.

Gurevich thinks the stimulus was “somewhat” of a success. I asked him what he didn’t like, and he said the bailout of the big banks and car companies. Polls show many Americans, like Gurevich, confuse the stimulus, or Recovery Act, with the Troubled Asset Relief Program for banks and the auto companies.

Gurevich: Good point. Thank you for the clarification.

Speaking of clarifications, how much recovery money is left to take back? It turns out, not much.

Taxpayers are getting about a third of the $800 billion in the form of tax credits that are showing up in their paychecks through the end of this year. Taking those away is not in the GOP pledge. Another third has already gone to states and can’t be taken back. Set aside federal public works projects already committed to, and only about $60 billion are left to capture before they go out the door.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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