A good grade for the stimulus package

The reverse side of a U.S. twenty dollar bill matched up with the north side of the White House in Washington, D.C.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

BILL RADKE: Today, the White House issues a report card
on the $800 billion stimulus program. And yes, the administration gives itself an A, for implementation. The White House will say the stimulus is coming in on time and under budget,
according to the Washington Post, which got an advanced copy. From Washington,
Marketplace's John Dimsdale joins us live. Hi John.

JOHN DIMSDALE: Good morning.

RADKE: How does the White House justify such high praise for a program that opponents call wasteful and ineffective?

DIMSDALE: Well first it says the deadlines for getting money out the door quickly in order to jumpstart the economy. And as of the end of September, over $550 billion had been distributed -- all in the form of tax breaks and aid to states and money for thousands of public works projects. Secondly, the report claims there were a very low number of complaints about waste and abuse -- only about 3,800, which is less than 2 percent of the 200,000 projects. That compares to the usual 5-7 percent of complaints over fraud in most government contracts.

RADKE: And John, what about charges that the stimulus was largely ineffective in turning the economy around?

DIMSDALE: By one measure that's true. The president's advisers had predicted that the stimulus would keep unemployment from going above 8 percent, which as we know was way off the mark. But today's report will say that the stimulus did prevent even worse harm to the economy. And of course there's that endorsement from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that the package will have saved or created 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010.

RADKE: Marketplace's John Dimsdale in Washington. Thanks John.

DIMSDALE: Thanks Bill.

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