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Political lessons from Obama’s stimulus

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One the most polarizing topics in this year’s presidential race is the nearly $800 billion economic stimulus package passed by Congress in 2009.

The bill, known as The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was meant to jump-start a struggling economy through massive government spending.

Michael Grunwald, senior correspondent for Time magazine, has written a new book detailing how that $800 billion package came to be. It’s called “The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era.”

Grunwald says the stimulus plan did stimulate the economy: “Certainly all the objective economists who have looked at it, there is overwhelming consensus that it certainly did create jobs and it certainly did promote growth after a terrifying freefall.”

And though he says that many of the stimulus programs are actually popular with the public, the idea of government spending continues to be a tough sell.

“It turn out that most of the actual things in the stimulus — the tax cuts, infrastructure projects and the clean energy — people actually like them, they just don’t like the stimulus,” says Grunwald. “There’s a reason that even President Obama won’t say the word any more and it really has become toxic. “

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