Is the Stimulus Plan Really Making a Difference?

"Looking ahead [to] 2010 and 2011, not only do we lose these positions that we created and those that we saved but we are probably looking at another 30 or 40 teaching positions alone that we will probably have to cut," Willis said.

"In many school districts, the stimulus has sort of prevented layoffs up until a certain point, and now states are sort of looking at, well now what do we do without the stimulus money," said Michael Grabell, a reporter at ProPublica, a public interest group that tracks stimulus spending.

Obama today acknowledged that the current economic climate "doesn't yet feel like much of a recovery" to those who are still unemployed. The president said layoffs could even increase this year because of the dire economic situation states are facing, but he added that the stimulus would help lay the foundations for future growth.

"The recovery act was never meant to... restore our economy to full strength," he said. "It's laying out the foundation for where we need to go."

Romer says that the bang from the stimulus is not in the past, and that the administration is reviewing other ways to expand job growth.

"We have certainly seen productivity surge, and that, at one level, is a good sign about the economy. But absolutely, we've got to translate that GDP growth [in the last quarter] into employment growth," she said on "GMA." That's why again, the president has said, as good as the recovery act is, we shouldn't stop there."

A senior administration official said Tuesday that the state fiscal relief program will continue to help stave off layoffs of public sector workers like teachers, police personnel and firefighters. But as project investment increases, there will be a shift toward job creation in the private sector in what another official called "transformative industries" like clean energy technology.

"I think there is a bipartisan realization of just how much states are still suffering," Romer said.

There is also the issue of questionable stimulus spending, according to the administration's own inspector general. Twenty community agencies that are slated to receive $45 million are "at risk for fraud, waste and abuse." One example -- Illinois received $242 million to weatherize 27,000 homes, but the Department of Energy found "significant internal control deficiencies," including one instance with a "furnace gas leak that could have resulted in serious injury to the occupants."

Investigators at ProPublica, which launched a new "Stimulus Investigations" page today, found that billions in stimulus money could be lost to fraud.

"The biggest problem we're seeing is with questionable contractors who are receiving stimulus funds despite being under criminal investigation," Grabell said. "We've seen several examples of this where a contractor may be banned from getting federal contracts but still is finding a way to get stimulus money."

For example, an Oklahoma highway contractor who was suspended after being accused of conspiring to use unsuitable asphalt material within months formed a new company and began receiving stimulus contracts again.

Fraud Concerns in Stimulus

Tax credits are another area where fraud is likely. The Recovery Act has thus far provided $119 billion in tax relief, according to the administration's one-year progress report.

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