The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was intended to stimulate the U.S. economy and to create jobs. But at what cost? In this paper, we discuss the range of potential benefits and costs associated with counter-cyclical fiscal policy. Benefits and costs may be social, macroeconomic, systemic, and budgetary. They may depend importantly on timing and implementation. There may be very different implications over the business cycle horizon and in the medium to long term. We use simulations of the IHS Global Insight macro-econometric model to evaluate some of these costs and benefits in the U.S. economy, looking specifically at the impact of the ARRA program and potential alternative policies.