Remember when President Obama joked with members of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness that those "shovel-ready jobs weren't as shovel-ready as we expected"?

That was one of the few times Obama seemed to acknowledge, if only faintly, that his $763 billion economic stimulus program was less than it was cracked up to be.

What it was cracked up to be was the cure for the Great Recession of 2008 that Obama inherited from President George W. Bush.

The Obama recovery

When it was being debated by the Democratic Congress in 2009, chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer said unemployment would surge past 8 percent if the measure was rejected.

The measure was approved and unemployment surged past 8 percent and continued into the 10 percent range for several years.

Romer also promised a healthy economic growth rate would follow passage of the program, but instead what followed was the most anemic recovery in memory.

Not to worry!

Now along comes the same White House group, formerly headed by Romer, to claim that not only was the stimulus program a roaring success, it didn't cost anything, either!

"The recovery act had at most a minimal impact on the long-run debt -- and the additional growth it produced likely further reduced or eliminated its cost," claimed the White House Council of Economic Advisors, according to the Washington Examiner's Joel Gehrke.

Millions of Americans who have simply given up trying to find a new job would likely have a different view on the true cost or success of the stimulus program

Rubio's handy summary

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio released a video on the stimulus program's fifth anniversary that included this observation:

"Five years later, under-employment is still too high, the number of people who have dropped out of the workforce is astounding, unemployment remains stubbornly high and our economy isn't growing fast enough."

That is proof, Rubio said, "that massive government spending, particularly debt-spending, is not the solution to our economic growth problems."

On today's

Editorial: CFPB must explain spiraling building renovation costs.

EXography/Mark Flatten: States use variety of gimmicks to balance budgets.

Columnist/Gene Healy: What's to celebrate about "Presidents' Day"?

Columnist/Cal Thomas: Michele Bachmann says "there's no pent-up desire for a woman president."

Columnist/Byron York: Why Hillary Clinton's past is fair game for 2016.

Beltway Confidential/Joel Gerhke: White House report says $763 billion stimulus program was free.

PennAve/Susan Crabtree: HHS won't say if Kathleen Sebelius is still coercing contributions for Enroll America from healthcare providers.

Legal Newsline/Heather Isringhausen Gvillo: More than 300 corporations endorse amendments to federal civil procedures rules.

In other news

CBS News: With stroke of Obama's pen, new fuel standards for trucks on the way.

The Washington Post: GOP leaders put big-ticket items on hold.

The New York Times: Wall Street master of the universe plans huge global warming ad campaign.

CNN: "Abundant evidence" of North Korean crimes against humanity, panel says.

NBC News: Why taxpayers will bail out the rich when the next storm hits.

USA Today: Iran nuke talks in Austria headed for collision.

Righty Playbook

The Weekly Standard: Bill Kristol on Obama's "I can do whatever I want."

National Review Online: VW workers escape from Detroit.

The American Conservative: Can Rand Paul save GOP foreign policy?

Bonus must-read

The Federalist: Understanding the Left's grip on media.

Lefty Playbook

The Washington Monthly: Travesty in Chattanooga.

UTNE Reader: A sixties radical reflects on an unfinished revolution.

New York: What I saw when I crashed a Wall Street secret society.

Bonus must-read

Mother Jones: How many people aren't vaccinating their kids in your state?

Blog Right

Hugh Hewitt: Common Core gets knocked ... by the Left.

Powerline: Will Bill Clinton be an issue in 2016?

Hot Air: Food inflation far outstrips official calculations.

Blog Left

Talking Points Memo: Issa rallies the GOP against Obama's "imperial presidency."

Crooks and Liars: John Cornyn primary challenger compares McConnell to a turtle.

Taylor Marsh: Adam Green shows progressives how to challenge Clinton.