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ARRA and The Economic Crisis: One Year Later. Has Stimulus Helped Communities in Crisis?

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Facing an escalating economic crisis, newly inaugurated President Obama signed the historic American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (commonly referred to as “the stimulus”) on February 17th 2009. The $787 billion stimulus bill was designed to create and preserve jobs, spur economic growth, and be administered with a particular focus on transparency and accountability. The stimulus bill made explicit reference to “assist those most impacted” by the recession. Has ARRA provided relief to our hardest?hit communities? Has ARRA worked to promote greater racial and socioeconomic equity in our nation? One year into the implementation of ARRA we find mixed results, and offer critical lessons learned from the ARRA experience. In addition, we provide specific recommendations for achieving the goals of the Recovery Act, generating jobs and broadening prosperity, and reducing our racial and economic divide.

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