U.S. President Barack Obama says the massive economic stimulus bill he signed one year ago has prevented another Great Depression and kept millions of Americans working. The president is celebrating the anniversary of the bill's signing.
President Obama says the $787 billion Recovery Act is working. "It is one of the main reasons the economy has gone from shrinking by six percent to growing by about six percent. And this morning we learned that manufacturing production posted a strong gain. So far, the Recovery Act is responsible for the jobs of about two million Americans who would otherwise be unemployed," he said.
But Mr. Obama acknowledges with U.S. unemployment at 9.7 percent, many Americans are still frustrated about the state of the economy.
"Millions of Americans are still without jobs. Millions more are struggling to make ends meet. So it does not yet feel like much of a recovery, and I understand that. That is why we are going to continue to do everything in our power to turn this economy around," he said.
Republican lawmakers, almost all of whom have voted against Mr. Obama's domestic initiatives, say the stimulus has cost too much, incurred too much debt and done too little.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Recovery Act has been full of waste, fraud and abuse. And in a statement titled Where Are The Jobs?, House Minority Leader John Boehner says it is clear that the stimulus has utterly failed.
The president admits it would be impossible for government spending alone to restore economic health. He says the intent of the Recovery Act was to help businesses stay in business and encourage them to keep hiring. "What government can do is provide a temporary boost that puts money in people's pockets and keeps workers on the job," said Mr. Obama.
Despite fierce political opposition and mixed acceptance by the American public, Mr. Obama says the stimulus has achieved its desired results. "There has never been a program of this scale, moved at this speed, that has been enacted as effectively and as transparently as the Recovery Act," he said.
With health-care reform in jeopardy and financial regulatory reform on hold, the stimulus is the only one of the president's legislative priorities that he has signed into law.