WASHINGTON -- One year after passing a massive economic stimulus plan, President Barack Obama credited the move for staving off another Great Depression and saving up to 2 million jobs.
Although critics say the bill was a waste of taxpayer money, the Obama administration is hailing it as a big success, even while acknowledging that many have not yet felt the effects of it.
"It doesn't yet feel like much of a recovery," Obama admitted Wednesday. Obama explained that the plan included tax cuts for most Americans, help for state governments, extended social service benefits, and huge investments in energy, education and infrastructure.
"One year later, it is largely thanks to the recovery act that a second depression is no longer a possibility," Obama said.
Unemployment Still High
Still, top administration officials are pushing the controversial package, which has gone up in price from $787 billion a year ago to $862 billion today, as a success, even though unemployment has topped 10 percent in the last few months.
"It's working," Vice President Joe Biden said. "The act has succeeded in helping pull us back from the brink. "
Biden joins other senior administration officials this week in visiting 35 communities nationwide. Their goal is to counter Republican claims that the stimulus has failed.
White House officials insist the huge spending bill has created 2 million jobs and that 95 percent of working Americans have seen their taxes cut.
However, with unemployment still just under 10 percent, they have plenty of convincing to do, not just among their GOP rivals.
A new CBS News/New York Times poll found that just 6 percent of Americans think the law has created jobs. And 41 percent believe it will sometime down the line.
Obama Attempts Damage Control
Meanwhile, the administration's own inspector general has said there have been cases of stimulus fraud and waste totaling in the millions. Some have complained that jobs created by the Act are only temporary.
"It's getting very dire," Utica City School District Superintendent James Willis warned. "All those positions that we created, all of those positions that we saved, will be going away."
The economy and big government spending have also taken its toll on Obama's popularity. A new CNN poll found that 52 percent say the president doesn't deserve to be re-elected.
The president is trying to address Americans' concerns about Washington's big spending by establishing a debt panel.
The goal of the panel will be to find ways to reduce the $14 trillion national debt - a debt that's projected to hit more $20 trillion in the next several years.