Joe Biden: Government incentives are restoring confidence to the economy

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The Independent Online

Americans are now confident enough that with certain incentives they're willing to start to go out and spend again. For example, the tax credit for new home buyers has helped stabilise sales and prices of new and existing homes. It has given a boost to, and an incentive, to over 250,000 families who have gone out and purchased a new home without reliance on unsound credit practices of the past.

And the Cash for Clunkers programme has been an unqualified success. It has boosted demand for cars and spurred consumer spending. And our critics say they don't think this programme is helping. Well, all the economic indicia point to the opposite direction – it is helping. I think it would be hard to tell the young family who just bought their first home because of the tax credit or the thousands of people who have just traded in gas guzzlers for more efficient cars that this is having no impact.

Now, don't get me wrong – we still have a long way to go. "Less bad" is not the same as "good". We know that growth in GDP is necessary but not sufficient. It's not a sufficient marker of recovery. For one thing, it's not going to occur until there are jobs. My grandpop used to have the expression, he said, when the guy up the line is out of work, it's an economic slowdown; when your brother-in-law is out of work, it's a recession; when you are out of work, it's a depression. Well, it's still a serious problem for millions of unemployed Americans. Too many people are out of work. Too many families are in pain. And when that's no longer the case, that's when we will have recovery.

But I can tell you today without reservation: The Recovery Act is working. And when we do recover, when we finish rebuilding, when we finish rescuing the thousands of people – tens of thousands of people who have fallen into a black hole without our help with unemployment insurance, when we finish this process we also will have been in the process of having, through the Recovery Act, begun to lay the platform for a much stronger, more stable, economy in the investments that we're making through this Recovery Act.

This is an extract from a speech given by the US Vice President in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday, assessing the economic impact of the Recovery Act