WASHINGTON (CNN) - Six months after the $787 billion economic stimulus package became law, a new poll indicates a majority of Americans don't think it's working.
Fifty-seven percent of those questioned in a USA Today/Gallup survey released Monday say the federal stimulus has had no effect on the economy so far, or has made things worse. Just over four in 10 say the stimulus has made things better.
The poll also suggests that six in 10 doubt that the stimulus package will make things better in the future, with 38 percent saying the infusion of money from Washington will have a positive effect on the nation's economy.
"Support for the stimulus package dropped significantly even before it was passed, and six months ago the public was evenly divided over whether it would help the economy," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Americans have never supported the idea of a second stimulus bill - back in March, two-thirds opposed that idea."
(CNN) - Pres. Obama has been promising the American people transparency ever since he was on the campaign trail.
And, when it comes to the $700 billion dollar bank and auto bailouts, known as TARP, and the $787 billion economic stimulus package, the president vowed an unprecedented level of openness.
A lot of information has been made public through websites like recovery.gov and financialstability.gov. The administration calls these sites “pioneering” compared to how government worked in the past.
But we’re talking about almost $1.5 trillion dollars here – and there is key information that the public doesn’t know about how and where this money is being spent.
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CINCINNATI, Ohio (CNN) - In his first trip to Ohio since the election, Vice President Joe Biden jumped back into campaign mode, setting his sights on Republican critics of the $787 billion stimulus plan.
"All the talk about how we're gonna waste all this money, that's a dog that ain't barked yet," Biden said in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday. "And it's not gonna bark on my watch."
It appeared to be a direct shot at House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, who posted a Web video featuring a bloodhound on the hunt for stimulus jobs.
"This is Ellie Mae, and she hasn't found any stimulus jobs. And neither have we," Boehner says in the video.
But some stimulus money has found its way to Boehner's own district in Butler County, Ohio.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama launched the next phase of his $787 billion economic stimulus program Monday with a package of projects that he said would create or save 600,000 jobs.
The 10 projects include expanding health facilities, improving airports and highways, building new military facilities, funding education jobs, hiring or keeping law enforcement officers, starting new rural waste and water systems, improving medical centers for military veterans, enhancing the cleanup of 20 federal Superfund sites, working on national parks, and creating summer youth jobs.
The "Road map to Recovery" package is part of the blueprint for the second 100 days of the economic stimulus program signed into law on February 17. In the first 100 days, the program created or saved 150,000 jobs and designated $135 billion in funding, according to a White House news release. It was not immediately clear if the funding figure included the projects announced Monday.
"We have a long way to go on our road to recovery but we are going the right way," Obama said in the news release. He called for more progress that "American people see in their own lives," adding: "Surely and steadily, we will turn this economy around."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – The federal government has made available more than $75 billion for stimulus projects in the 10 weeks since President Obama signed the $787 billion recovery package into law.
Not all of that money has hit the streets, however. So far, $14.5 billion has been spent, nearly all of it to help states cope with rising Medicaid costs.
A CNNMoney.com analysis of the program's financial reports shows how difficult it is to quickly inject billions of dollars into the economy. Experts interviewed said they are not surprised by the pace of spending, though they had mixed views on whether the effort would boost the economy.
"There's a natural tension between using taxpayers' money in a prudent way and getting the money out the door quickly," said Isabel Sawhill, a Brookings Institution senior fellow.
The massive recovery package was designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs, as well as assist states and people suffering from the recession by providing funding for education, Medicaid and other public services.
The federal government is now tasked with putting $499 billion to work in coming years. The remaining $288 billion consists of tax relief, the signature program of which, the Making Work Pay credit, began earlier this month.
Sources tell CNN Radio that billions in road and bridge money is going "farther" and being used "faster" than expected.
Two administration officials say Obama will announce that the Department of Transportation has funded 2,000 projects so far with stimulus dollars and that those projects have come in "under budget" and "ahead of schedule."
The sources did not provide any details, and it is not yet clear how the White House is judging the expected pace or costs of stimulus projects.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - It's not that easy to turn down federal funds.
Several governors who initially voiced concerns about expanding state unemployment benefits to qualify for federal stimulus funds have decided to accept the money. Some were feeling the heat from jobless constituents, while others took comfort in learning recently from the federal Department of Labor that they could curtail eligibility later on.
The benefits expansion is among the most controversial components of the stimulus package, and it comes at a time when millions of people across the nation are losing their jobs. The nation's unemployment rate stood at 8.1% in February and is expected to climb to 8.5% when the March figures are released next Friday.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires state legislatures to broaden the unemployment guidelines to allow more women, part-timers and low-wage workers to qualify.
In return, the states will get to partake in a $7 billion federal grant aimed at helping the unemployed. At least 19 states automatically qualify for the funds since they already had widened eligibility.
Some state officials, however, are concerned they will have to fund the expanded program by hiking taxes on employers once the federal money runs out. But they were soon hit by a backlash of anger from state lawmakers, unions and jobless residents.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - An estimated 50 million Social Security recipients will receive their one-time $250 economic stimulus check in May - several weeks ahead of schedule, Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday.
Biden also announced the distribution of $3.2 billion in new funding for state and local energy efficiency programs from the Department of Energy.
The checks to Social Security recipients, worth a total of $13 billion, "will make a big difference in the lives of older Americans and people with disabilities – many of whom have been hit especially hard by the economic crisis that has swept across the country," Biden said in a written statement.
The energy efficiency funds will come in the form of "formula grants for projects that reduce total energy use and fossil fuel emissions," according to a separate White House statement.
"Local leaders will have the flexibility in how they put these (energy efficiency) resources to work – but we will hold them accountable for making the investments quickly and wisely to spur the local economy and cut energy use," Biden said.
Biden, who made the announcement at a meeting with several cabinet and other senior White House officials, is the administration's point man in overseeing the distribution of the $787 billion stimulus plan. He is being assisted by former Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney, who has been tapped to head a new Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Roughly 97% of American households could see tax savings as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to a new analysis by a nonpartisan research group.
The Tax Policy Center crunched the numbers and concluded that the average savings would be $1,179. But how much a household actually gets depends on income, marital status and whether a filer has children. The savings range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.
The law, which President Obama signed on Tuesday, contains a range of tax breaks for individuals. Those likely to affect the greatest number of households are the new Making Work Pay credit worth up to $400 ($800 for joint filers); a patch to protect middle- and upper-middle-income families from having to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax; and expansions of the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit for low-income families.
There are also breaks that address specific situations: a new credit for first-time home buyers, a sales tax deduction for car buyers and a new credit to help pay for college tuition. For people receiving unemployment benefits, the first $2,400 will be tax free.