Policy: Budgets & Deficits

White House touts stimulus as Americans see 'unemployment' as nation's new top challenge

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,White House,Joel Gehrke,Jobs,ARRA,Economy,Budgets and Deficits,Unemployment

President Obama's economists celebrated the fifth anniversary of the 2009 stimulus Monday, even as a new Gallup survey finds that Americans see unemployment as the biggest problem facing the country.

"Thanks in significant part to the actions of President Obama, the economic picture today is much brighter," the Council of Economic Advisers told Congress in a self-congratulatory report. "While there is more work to do to help provide opportunity for all, the Recovery Act and subsequent jobs measures were an important step in the right direction."

How much more work? "Americans have a new No. 1 problem," Gallup reports in a survey that was also released Monday. "Nearly one in four Americans mention jobs and unemployment as the most important problem facing the country, up from 16 percent in January."

The sentiment is shared across the political spectrum: 24 percent of Republicans, 24 percent of Democrats, and 23 percent of independents cite unemployment as their top issue. All told, 23 percent of Americans say that unemployment is the biggest problem. Another 20 percent cite the "economy in general" as the top issue.

The White House report claims "about 9 million job-years" created or saved by the stimulus through 2012. "While these estimates are substantial, they still understate the full impact of the administration's economic policies in tackling the Great Recession due to be being based only on the effect of fiscal measures," the economists blithely maintain.

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