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WASHINGTON – Vice President Joe Biden asserted in an interview Wednesday that taxpayers have "gotten their money's worth" out of the $787 billion stimulus program that Congress passed during the depths of the recession.

In an interview broadcast on CBS's "The Early Show," Biden defended the program against accusations by Republicans critics that it hasn't been the job-manufacturing machine the administration promised to the American people.

He argued that money invested in both private and public-sector initiatives has saved as many as 2 million jobs, and said, "I don't think they realize it." Biden said the program, now a year old, was designed to be implemented in two stages, saying "we've only been halfway through the act."

Christina Romer, who heads the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in a separate interview that one component of the stimulus program had worked especially well. "State fiscal relief really has kept hundreds of thousands of teachers and firefighters and first responders on the job," she said.

"We have seen productivity surge," Romer said on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"And that, at one level, is a good sign," she said.

The Obama administration has been feeling considerable political pressure of late, in part because of the stunning upset of its favored candidate in the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. Earlier this week, a leading Senate Democratic moderate, Indiana's Evan Bayh, joined an increasing number of lawmakers who have announced they will be leaving Congress. This has come amid rising public anger over joblessness, high deficits and Washington partisanship.

Biden said "we're in a situation here where if we do nothing about that cost curve — in the last 10 years, health care costs have gone up 100 percent."

Gesturing with his hand, he said: "Now, unless you bring that cost curve from going like this, down like this, we're in deep trouble."
 

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Actually, according to the GAO, the price tag just went up another $80 Billion. A large percentage of the first year's spending was extending various unemployment benefits and that's gone way over budget.

I have to fill out their new forms four times a year; does that count as increased productivity?
 

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I have to fill out their new forms four times a year; does that count as increased productivity?
We (low-income housing) finally got a waiver on completing those forms. Someone finally realized it made no sense at all. Of course, since I had to do it the first time, I'm still getting countless amounts of junkmail from CCR, et al about subcontracting opportunities and contracting symposiums and on and on...
 

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Stimulus funds going to slashed programs
By Matt Kelley, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — More than $3.5 billion in economic stimulus funds are going to programs that President Obama wants to eliminate or trim in his new budget.

The president's budget released this month recommends getting rid of Army Corps of Engineers' drinking-water projects, which got $200 million in stimulus funds, and a U.S. Department of Agriculture flood-prevention program, which received $290 million from the stimulus, a USA TODAY review of stimulus spending reports show.

The administration's budget plan says the corps and USDA programs are inefficient and duplicate similar, more effective work by other agencies. The proposed cuts indicate the programs shouldn't have gotten money from the $862 billion stimulus package, said Tom Schatz of the non-partisan budget watchdog Citizens Against Government Waste.

"It's certainly inconsistent, and it would have been better to have this realization a year ago," Schatz said. "But if inconsistency means they're going to cut the programs, it's OK. It's the other way around that bothers us."

White House budget office spokesman Thomas Gavin said the administration wasn't being inconsistent. Unlike the annual spending bills, the corps and USDA programs in the stimulus law didn't mandate funding for specific projects selected by members of Congress, Gavin said in an e-mail. That allowed agencies to "invest (stimulus) funds where they can do the greatest good," Gavin said.

The stimulus law, however, requires the corps' stimulus money to be spent only on projects that Congress had previously approved for funding.

Obama's proposed budget also includes $334 million in cuts to programs that got more than $3 billion in stimulus money. They include:

• A $100 million cut in funding for maintenance and construction in national forests. The Forest Service got $650 million for such projects in the stimulus package, of which $55.6 million has been spent, according to USDA reports. The White House budget says the Forest Service doesn't need as much money because it is building fewer roads.

• A $44 million decrease in funding for an Interior Department program to thin trees and brush on federal land to mitigate wildfires. The stimulus provided $15 million for the program. The administration says it is reorganizing the program, which has been less effective than it should be because it didn't focus on preventing the fires most likely to threaten homes.

Obama signed the stimulus package a year ago today, an occasion that the administration is marking with events at the White House today and across the country this week.
 

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S&P 500 one year ago today - 789.17
S&P 500 today [one minute ago] - 1096.56

S&P 500 February 17, 2001 - 1301.53
 

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I think the Bush TARP plan and Obama's stimulus plan kept the economy from slipping into a depression. As scary as it is to say, I think all this may have proven Paul Krugman right. The concern shouldn't have been that the stimulus plan was too big, but that it was too small. As for Biden, he's in a tough position, but they're stuck in the bed they made. Yes, some of the criticism is unfair. People ignore the effect the stimulus bill had on pushing GDP to positive growth. At the same time, they made claims that we wouldn't see unemployment over 8%. We did, and more. They set the bar, and they didn't reach it. Saying things went from "sucks bad" to "sucks less" isn't anything to crow about and I doubt it will be well received by voters. I think they're in one of those situations where you take your lumps and you work like hell to create jobs. That's how you shut your critics up.
 

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Doesn't surprise me that millions are going to programs that are being cut in the current budget. It's what's wrong with big government; there's no way for one hand to know what the other hand is doing, and even if they do stumble onto something, there doesn't seem to be any interest in fixing it.

I'll spend ten hours with a government contracting officer trying to figure out why we have a hundred dollar discrepancy on a million dollar project while they pour billions down a rathole. It's kind of depressing.
 

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And the left had the gall to call BUSH a spendthrift! HAH!!!!
 

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And the left had the gall to call BUSH a spendthrift! HAH!!!!
He was a spendthrift. It's why Republicans lost credibility as the party of smaller govt. and lower taxes.

The fact that Obama is worse doesn't really make it any better.
 

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Every president spends more than his predecessor. Reagan did it, Bush and Obama too. The next president will probably do the same. If we really wanted it to stop it would. But we aren't willing to make the necessary changes in lifestyle that would have to accompany an adjustment in spending. So the wheels on the bus go round and round.....
 

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:shocked: I am not sure thats possible.
Really? Because you only have to look back to Bush who twice increased spending by a greater percent from the prior year than Obama's increase for the 2011 budget [see 2003 and 2006].
 
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