White House report says stimulus package is a success

A White House report says the economic stimulus package signed into law by President Obama in February 2009 is coming in on time, under budget and with few claims of fraud or abuse, according to The Washington Post.

By the end of September, the administration met its goal of spending 70 percent of the act's original $787 billion—it since has been revised to $814 billion—as well as nearly a dozen deadlines set by Congress to pump money into the economy. And because some projects have not been as costly as anticipated, the administration was able to stretch the stimulus money further, financing an additional 3,000 projects.

Additionally, stimulus contracts and grants have been relatively free of fraud charges. Complaints have been filed on less than 2 percent of awards under the program; 5 to 7 percent of government contracts typically attract complaints.

The administration has spent $551 billion of the original $787 billion, including $242 billion in tax breaks to families and businesses and $232 billion in payments to states, unemployed workers and other victims of the recession. It also has spent $77 billion for thousands of public works projects and has committed but not yet spent an additional $127 billion.

The report is one in a series of assessments prepared by Vice President Joe Biden, who was charged with overseeing the implementation of the stimulus money, and states the package improved unemployment and helped the economy rebound in late 2009. Many prominent economists agree with that assessment and say the package may be on track to meet the administration's goal of preserving 3.5 million jobs by the end of the year.

Congressional Republicans challenge such claims, saying the stimulus package led to record budget deficits while doing little to improve the economy.

Still, some former skeptics of the stimulus package admit to seeing some positive effects.

“Given the ambitious nature of the stimulus, the fact that things have gone relatively smoothly suggests that they did put appropriate and adequate resources" into program oversight, says Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council and an early skeptic of the plan. "They definitely deserve credit for that."

Date : 10/4/2010