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The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009, is the biggest stimulus in American history and will ultimately cost an estimated $833 billion. Most of that money has already been paid out in the form of tax cuts, aid to states, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and infrastructure investment. The federal government has since spent nearly $700 billion in additional stimulus. That wasn’t enough to beat the Great Recession, but the Congressional Budget Office credits the Recovery Act with creating or saving 700,000 to 3.3 million jobs in 2010, and 400,000 to 2.6 million in 2011.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Congressional Budget Office; Gallup; Office of Management and Budget; Money Well Spent?, by Michael Grabell; The New New Deal, by Michael Grunwald; The Escape Artists, by Noam Scheiber