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Economic stimulus news and notes

By Ed O'Keefe

Remember the economic stimulus program? You know, the one that accidentally sent checks to dead people?

Well, there are two bits of news about the $814 billion economic recovery program worth calling out today. First the good news:

Almost 100 percent (99.5 percent to be exact) of the primary recipients of stimulus contracts, grans and loans submitted reports on their spending last quarter, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

"This unprecedented level of disclosure has been lauded by government watchdogs and transparency groups as a significant achievement for open government," acting OMB chief Jeffrey Zients said on his blog.

But Zients & Co. of course aren't satisfied with the 0.5 percent who failed to turn in spending reports and are "aggressively pursuing" them. (Yes, nothing scarier than when the bean counters hunt you down for expense reports. Trust me, I know.)

And now the other news:

President Obama admits (in yet another New York Times Magazine piece about him) that "there's no such thing as shovel-ready projects."

That's a critical admission because the Obama administration argued before the recovery program's passage that hundreds of major shovel-ready projects just needed a few million federal dollars to get started and hire unemployed workers.

Obama also admits he should have "let the Republicans insist on the tax cuts" as part of the stimulus package. Probably a good idea in hindsight, because it would have allowed the White House to spread the blame (or credit?) to Republicans willing to vote for a massive spending package that included tax breaks.

Discuss in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 13, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Tracking the Stimulus  
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Despite their public condemnations of the economic stimulus plan approved last year, hundreds of Republican officials have been discovered holding secret crushes on this legislation, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The plan was approved with near-unanimous opposition from Republican lawmakers, yet interviews with Republican staffers, leaked documents and even public statements indicate that members of the GOP have been gushing over the stimulus since its inception.

Hints of a Republican love affair with the stimulus surfaced last week when a notebook owned by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was found in the hallway outside his Congressional office.


Posted by: Mikeystyle | October 13, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

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