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Obama to hurry recovery effort amid rising doubt
The projects include work at 107 national parks, 98 airports and 1,500 highway locations, and hiring or retaining 5,000 police officers - work designed to save or create 600,000 jobs. Mr. Obama said that all those jobs will be created or retained “over the next 100 days.”
The White House said that 125,000 summer jobs for youth will be created in the next 100 days, though they said the positions will not be counted as full-time positions.
Mr. Obama pledged in February that, all told, the stimulus package would save between 3 million and 4 million jobs.
Mr. Bernstein defended the administration’s formula for its job numbers.
“This is an absolute, tried-and-true economic methodology,” he said during a briefing with reporters at the White House. “There is simply no other way to make this kind of estimate.”
But Republicans and conservative groups hammered the president, sensing a political opening.
“Today’s announcement is an acknowledgment that the Democrats’ trillion-dollar stimulus is not working, and the American people know it,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.
The White House said its calculations project that every $92,000 of government spending creates one “job-year.”
A May 11 report states that about two-thirds of that “job-year” is a direct or indirect benefit, such as a state worker being retained and not fired because of federal dollars being disbursed to state governments.
About one-third of each “job-year” is an “induced effect,” the White House said, where tax cuts for consumers can create demand for products and allow businesses to hire or retain employees because of that demand.
Republicans pointed to the White House prediction in January that the unemployment rate would stay about 8 percent if Congress passed the stimulus package. The unemployment rate has risen to 9.4 percent.
Mr. Bernstein said that in January they had not yet learned of a massive 6 percent contraction in gross domestic product during the fourth quarter of 2008.
“At the time, our forecast seemed reasonable. Now, looking back, it was clearly too optimistic,” he said.
The White House also faces questions over whether the massive spending program is still needed to stimulate an economy that administration analysts say is already beginning to show signs of recovery. Other analysts, however, warn that the stock market’s recent gains may be a “bear rally,” signaling another downturn ahead.
Some Republican lawmakers say they want to stop all $787 billion from being spent if the economy is on the mend, using the money instead to reduce federal debt and deficit levels.
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