Summary of The New New Deal

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  • Controversial
  • Comprehensive


As controversial as it is huge, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 was a historic piece of legislation, according to journalist Michael Grunwald. Grander in scope than Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies, the Recovery Act evoked even more rancor and confusion than its 1930s predecessor. But while most of the debate centered on the bill’s short-term recovery prescriptions, its potentially transformative powers rest in the way it bets on the US economy’s long-term rehabilitation. Grunwald painstakingly recounts the background, genesis, formation and aftereffects of the law. He offers a detailed picture of the American political and economic environment in late 2008 and 2009. If you’re squeamish about the gory details of US politics, avoid the ugly particulars. Focus instead on the Recovery Act itself and its results so far, which, Grunwald says belie its perceived reputation as an abject failure. While always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends his work for its incisive look at what may turn out to be the beginning of the re-engineering of the American economy.

About the Author

Michael Grunwald is an award-winning senior correspondent for Time magazine.



The Long and the Short of It

It seems that everyone – politicians, pundits and even most members of the public – has at one time or another excoriated the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the largest spending package in US history. Conventional wisdom paints the $831 billion program as a failure, a hodgepodge of hastily thrown together giveaways meant to stimulate a moribund economy that failed to respond and now just plods along. Its passage followed the almost economy-shattering financial crisis of late 2008. The Recovery Act’s sheer size and breadth was just one indicator of how President Barack Obama’s then-new administration sought to grapple with the unknowable extent of the nation’s crisis-driven financial damage.

Yet the grousing and negative comments about the Recovery Act came about because of the way administration officials, politicians and the media portrayed it: as a strictly stimulation-oriented, job-creating, short-term response to a crisis. While ample evidence points to the Recovery Act’s quick-fix successes, its longer-range aspects – such as reinvestment – are the culmination of policy proposals and ideas years in the making which...

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