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Special Report

Brit Hume Explains Why the Economic Stimulus Is Not Working

President Obama's order to his Cabinet secretaries today to spend that stimulus money faster was an acknowledgement of reality. The stimulus is not working.

The complaint against government spending as an antidote to a recession is that by the time the money finally gets spent, the recession is usually over. As of now, only $44 billion of the $787 billion in stimulus cash has actually gone out. No wonder the President wants the money spent faster.

The other problem Mr. Obama faces is that unemployment historically takes a lot longer to improve than the economy itself. That's because companies are reluctant to lay people off until things get really bad and are also hesitant to hire them back until things get really good again.

Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, he and his team made some extravagant predictions about the effect of their stimulus spend fest, claiming that it would keep the unemployment rate from ever getting above eight percent. It is now nearly 9.5 percent, and climbing. Make no mistake about it: The most sensitive economic indicator in political terms is always the unemployment rate. People sometimes don't feel good about the economy when the unemployment rate is low, but they never feel good about it when it is high.

At the current pace, it is hard to imagine it will not continue to climb for some time, and there's a congressional election next year, hence the administration's need for speed.

Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for FOX News Channel.