Upon becoming president, Obama inherited an economy that was in the midst of a financial crisis and looked ready to fall into a depression. Unemployment was rising, businesses and banks were failing, and Americans were defaulting on their home loans. In response, Obama signed into law the American Recovery Act, in order to simulate the economy. The act pumped $800 billion into the economy to create infrastructure jobs, protect jobs in education, police departments, and local government, fund renewable energy research, and lower taxes for most Americans. The act also increased support for people on food stamps, the elderly, and those in public housing.