GOP reminds Biden of recovery forecast

Senate Republicans on Tuesday reminded Vice President Joe Biden of the prediction he made in February of 2009 that the stimulus package would pull the economy out of the recession in 18 months — in August 2010.

"This [stimulus] is about getting this out and spent in 18 months to create 3.5 million jobs," Biden said in February of last year, adding the package contains provisions that "literally drop-kicks us out of this recession."

Republicans point out that the U.S. Department of Labor shows more than 3.3 million jobs have been lost since the stimulus was enacted in February of 2009. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the unemployment rate held steady at 9.5 percent in July. The rate was approximately 7.7 percent when Obama signed the stimulus into law. 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in May reported that the stimulus was responsible for creating as many as 2.8 million jobs in the first quarter of 2010. It also said GDP adjusted for inflation increased between 1.7 percent and 4.2 percent over the same time period because of the stimulus. 

Since the CBO report, economic indicators appear to have taken a turn for the worse. 

The U.S. trade gap last week widened unexpectedly in June, hitting the highest level since October 2008 and sending the Dow tumbling 256 points on Wednesday. Other markets around the globe fell as well. The Federal Reserve last week also readjusted its expectations for a more modest recovery than previously anticipated.

Some economists now argue the recession never ended, despite some economic indicators suggesting otherwise. 

"The Great Recession continues," wrote Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, in The Huffington Post on Saturday. 

"It's nonsense to think of the economy heading downward again into a double-dip recession when most Americans never emerged from the first dip," he wrote. "We're still in one long Big Dipper."