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As President Obama prepares to send his jobs bill to Congress today, economists are still divided on how much bang for the buck the measure will provide when it comes to the critical challenge of adding jobs to the flailing U.S. economy.
The Wall Street Journal hosted an informal debate between two leading economists, one from the right and one from the left, to probe that question.
Doug Holtz-Eakin, who was a top economic adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign, argued that if the bill costs $450 billion (it's actually now $477 billion), and creates 1.2 million jobs, as some have predicted, that works out to an outlay of $350,000 per job--not a great rate of return. Jared Bernstein, a former top economic aide to the Obama White House, said it's more like $100,000 a job, and that the alternative is continued stagntion.
It's a key issue, and you can read the full exchange here.