Monday, July 27, 2009 | 2:08 a.m.
President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill in February as one way of fighting back against the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
From the outset the bill was explained as a relief measure whose greatest effect would not be felt until 2010 and 2011. It was also clear that the money would not start flowing steadily and in quantity to cities, counties and states until rules were written, the greatest needs could be assessed and methods for tracking the spending were in place.
Those tasks are finishing up and the White House, in response to some criticisms that stimulus money is being held up, says it will start flowing faster by fall.
Unfortunately, Republican leaders are taking political advantage of the time needed to get the stimulus money ready for distribution.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., this month called the stimulus bill a failure, and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, complained, incorrectly, that its administrators were inefficient. He said no stimulus-backed contracts had yet been awarded in his state.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer immediately corrected Boehner, reporting that 52 stimulus-funded road and bridge projects had been launched by Ohio transportation officials.
Nevada has been designated to receive $1.6 billion in stimulus money. A portion of the money is already at work here, employing teachers and construction workers and shoring up accounts for Medicaid and unemployment benefits.
The Obama administration is aware of Republican criticisms, but it is rightly avoiding any sudden change of plans that could jeopardize the efficient management of such a large sum of money.
The stimulus should not be regarded as a failure after just five months, especially considering that the bulk of the money is yet to come and that the recession has proved to be much worse than was thought at the beginning of the year.