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Biden Says US Economic Stimulus Plan is Working


Vice President Joe Biden says the federal government's $787-billion program to reshape and stimulate the U.S. economy is working better than expected. The vice president's remarks on the massive government program come as the U.S. economy might be breaking free of the deepest recession in decades. But, there are deepening concerns about the cost of government intervention in the economy.

Nearly 200 days after the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Vice President Joe Biden says the program has changed the "trajectory of our economy".

"Instead of talking about the beginning of a depression, we're talking about the end of a recession - eight months after taking office," said Vice President Biden.

But the effectiveness of the $787-billion, two-year spending program has been the subject of sharp debate.

A new Gallup public opinion poll shows that 51 percent of Americans believe the government has spent too much, while nearly one-in-four people say the stimulus has made the economy worse.

Opposition Republicans in Congress have also criticized the bill as a collection of scattered programs that often serve special interests.

But Biden says the stimulus program reflects the complexity of the U.S. economy.

"The fact is, the Recovery Act is a multifaceted piece of legislation," said Biden. "It doesn't reflect a lack of design, that was the design."

Yet, despite greater stability on Wall Street, rising home sales and higher worker productivity, public approval of President Barack Obama's handling of the economy has slipped.

The White House is urging Americans to take a longer view. And some economists are not ruling out the need for more government spending.

Mark Zandi is Chief Economist and co-founder of Moody's Economy.com.

"I don't know that it would be called a stimulus, but a little more help to state governments, a little more help to unemployed workers, probably would make sense," said Mark Zandi.

Retailers say consumers spent less in August amid worries about mounting job losses. Unemployment is expected to rise even after the recession ends because employment tends to lag behind economic changes. A clearer picture could emerge on Friday after the Labor Department releases its monthly jobs report.

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