DECEMBER 2008 | FIG. 1. THE STIMULUS PACKAGE: HUGE, BUT HUGE ENOUGH?

Before taking office, Obama’s team debates how much stimulus to request from Congress — not knowing how bad the economic situation actually is.

$60b

Passed by House in September 2008; not acted on by Senate

$1.8t

Obama adviser Romer’s December 2008 estimated need

$787b

Signed by President Obama in February 2009

Dec. 2008

903 S&P 500-stock index

134.4m Payrolls

67% Obama approval

-50 Consumer comfort

560,000 Housing starts rate

DATA: U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS, GALLUP, BLOOMBERG, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

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