Eye Opener: What to watch with the stimulus
Updated 10:18 a.m. ET
Happy Tuesday! (Unless you're Gannett.) The economic stimulus data continues to drip out in small bits, as the Obama administration starts to hear criticism from economists, Republicans and "good government" groups about the merits of the economic recovery program and the effectiveness of the Web site built to publicly report the jobs and spending data.
The stimulus created or saved 250,000 education jobs, according to a report (pdf) issued by the White House and the Education Department on Monday. But the report "does not address how many education jobs have been cut this year because of the recession, nor does it project how many are in jeopardy in the coming year," reports The Post's Nick Anderson.
The report suggests that without $67 billion in federal aid provided through Sept. 30 under the economic stimulus law, "state and local budgets for public schools and higher education would be hemorrhaging." Some critics say however that the federal aid just backfilled state and local funding cuts and that larger average class sizes across the country showed that many jobs were not saved.
Beyond the economic debate, other critics say the White House has thus far failed to deliver on the "unprecedented" levels of transparency Obama promised with the launch of Recovery.gov, the official economic stimulus Web site.
"This is not the 'unprecedented' level of transparency and accountability that we have been promised," government transparency expert Jerry Brito wrote Monday. "It’s certainly not what I expect from an $8 million website. Vice President Biden, in charge of ensuring recovery transparency, should take notice and take action."
Administration officials would also ask for patience, noting that the first full wave of data will not appear in full on Recovery.gov until the end of October and that most of the spending data is yet to come.
"I want to stress that those of us who have been Keynesian economists throughout our lifetimes have never contemplated this level of transparency in a government stimulus program," White House Economic Adviser Jared Bernstein said Monday during the White House press briefing. "We've never seen anything like this, where recipients are telling you precisely how taxpayer dollars are at work preserving and creating jobs."
As the back-and-forth about the stimulus continues, keep a close Eye on these movers, shakers and scenarios that could impact the public's perception and future recovery efforts:
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Jay Johnson -- former TV anchor, Congressman and director of U.S. Mint -- dead at age 66. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says the White House picked her outfits. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says a legitimate Afghan government could take months.
• DOD Scientist Arrested on Spy Charges: Stewart David Nozette, 52, of Chevy Chase, was charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to communicate, deliver and transmit classified information to an undercover FBI agent he believed was an Israeli intelligence officer.
• Census predicts fall in response rate: Mounting mistrust of government, rising identify theft and record numbers of foreclosures could discourage people from mailing back Census forms next year.
• USDA confirms H1N1 in Minnesota pigs: Officials have begun to reach out to international organizations and are emphasizing that H1N1 cannot be contracted by eating pork products.
• New boss moves quickly to change sluggish Patent Office: David Kappos arrived at the patent office as a former customer of the agency. He's earned early credit from colleagues, union leaders and agency veterans for quickly addressing several issues of concern.
• Public-private pay gap rises in 2009: It climbed to 1.25 percent during the past year, but the Federal Salary Council did not recommend a specific pay raise for federal employees in 2010.
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