Grand Strand reacts to defense of stimulus

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Brandon Herring - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The White House said Wednesday the $862 billion stimulus law has created or saved between 2.5 million and 3.6 million jobs. That claim was part of President Barack Obama's quarterly report on the stimulus to Congress.

Some of that stimulus money has come to Myrtle Beach, but doubts remain about whether it is being spent the right way, and if it is enough to make a difference. Ann Buckman said she was one of those still waiting to be personally helped by the extra government spending.

"Even though they are saying there are some jobs available now, and there are a few people getting work, but for those of us like myself, I've been out of work since November the 8th of last year," Buckman said. "I've been looking for a job every day since. It's very difficult.

"I'm looking for myself to be evicted sometime soon because like I say, I've never been this far behind in rent, but I am now because of the lack of jobs."

Buckman is one of the 11 percent of people looking for work in South Carolina. She and others and the Coastal Workforce Center said Wednesday it is hard to believe an economic recovery is underway.

"We need jobs," commented Ben Deas. "We need some government funded programs and stuff to create jobs."

Vice President Joe Biden and Christina Romer with White House Council of Economic Advisers said Wednesday the President is working to create jobs with stimulus money.

In the Myrtle Beach area, federal aid has helped continue programs at the Boys and Girls club and provided money so non-profit agencies can help those in need.

Stimulus funds have also helped pay for government construction like that on Pine Island Road. Bill Edmondson, who works with Southern Asphalt, the company contracted to do the work, said getting government projects has helped keep the business going.

"It's played a role in us not laying anybody off," Edmondson said. "We've actually employed a few more people, so it's helped us out considerably."

Workers like Travis Tindal have benefited from Southern Asphalt's government projects. He said his job is dependent on having work that needs to be done.

"I have a wife and child at home. I mean, it's a must," Tindal said. "We appreciate all the road construction and everything, and it keeps our job going."

Myrtle Beach's Streets Superintendent Stephen Moore said stimulus money has helped some of the city's projects progress. He said the work on Pine Island Road would not have been done when it was if stimulus money had not been available.

"Budgets are tight locally, so the stimulus money was a huge contributor for us to get in to do it at this time," Moore said.

Deas said he believes the stimulus package is a good thing for the country. He just wishes he could see results more quickly.

Likewise, Buckman said she believes the stimulus will help over time.

"It hasn't hit home for us yet, but you gotta have some faith in there," she said. "You gotta have some faith in there that everything is going to work out."

In addition to claims that the stimulus isn't creating enough jobs, some critics say it is creating too much government debt. As the debate continues, many political experts say the economy will play a major role in determining how people vote in the November elections.

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