I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the anniversary of the American Recovery Act. The Congressional Budget Office and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities produced several helpful graphs. In the first graph it is estimated that real GDP increased 1.9%.

Graph 1.

In the second graph, the estimate is that thanks to the stimulus, the economy added up to 2.4 million jobs.

Graph 2.

I am sure there are a lot of naysayers out there who will say that the stimulus might not have had the effect that we had hoped, and/or was actually harmful. These people are likely wrong, but it is hard to irrefutably tell them so, because as Derek Thompson at the Atlantic notes, there isn’t a make-believe world that we can compare it to.

Final point: if you want absolute certainty, never read anything associated with economic or financial theory.