What Happened to the Stimulus?

The Administration's $787 billion booster shot is not the magic bullet some had expected. Inside the White House operation to fix that

Greg Ruffing / Redux for TIME

Construction workers on the site of an infrastructure project at the junction of Interstates 490 and 77 in Cleveland, Tuesday 30 June 2009. The project is being funded by government stimulus money as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Fueled by Coke Zero and a double-chocolate protein bar, Vice President Joe Biden is roiling, ranting, being his usual self. Five mayors and county executives listen in silence on the other end of a White House speakerphone as the Delaware ear bender tries to ride herd on the stampede for dollars known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $787 billion monster that is the largest domestic-spending effort in U.S. history. "My rear end is on the line just like yours," Biden barks, surrounded by a flock of aides in his West Wing office. "I'm the guy in...

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