Photo via A Green Living
It's kind of amazing to me the bad rap that the stimulus bill has gotten since its passage a year and a half ago -- a recent poll found that something like only 13% of Americans felt it helped them. Of course, much of the nation's disdain can be attributed to the fact that the recession still hasn't lifted, that the stimulus failed to lift employment figures as high as was hoped, and that Obama's political foes have seized onto an 'out-of-control-spending' narrative. But the stimulus has done a number of very good things, like preventing all-out depression and pushing clean energy development. Here's just how much the stimulus has helped: The recently released report from the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA), has found that the stimulus bill (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) saved or created 2.5-3.6 million jobs. And it revealed that nearly 1 million of those were jobs in a field relating to clean energy.
Needless to say, with the unemployment rate hovering around 10% still, those numbers certainly are far from a slam dunk. Many economists felt that the stimulus bill should have been much bigger and more robust -- and we're seeing why right now. But credit should be given where it's due, and ARRA did succeed in staving off the worst of the recession. If there's any true silver lining to be considered, it belongs to the investment in clean energy, energy efficiency, and research & development on a number of green fronts.
- $29 billion for Energy Efficiency, including $5 billion to pay for energy efficiency retrofits in low-income homes;
- $21 billion for Renewable Generation, such as the installation of wind turbines and solar panels;
- $10 billion for Grid Modernization to develop the so-called "smart grid" that will involve sophisticated electric meters, high-tech electricity distribution and transmission grid censors, and energy storage;
- $6 billion to support domestic manufacturing of advanced batteries and other components of Advanced Vehicles and Fuels Technologies;
- $18 billion for Traditional Transit and High-Speed Rail;
- $3 billion to fund crucial research, development, and demonstration of Carbon Capture and Sequestration technologies;
- $3 billion for Green Innovation and Job Training to invest in the science, technology, and workforce needed for a clean energy economy;
- about $2 billion in Clean Energy Equipment Manufacturing tax credits.
See CAP's full report on the Recovery's status for more information.