"It was really just an excuse to take a lot of programs that the Democrats had in Congress, to take them off the shelf and pass them under the rubric of the emergency," Forbes told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in an interview.
"There hasn't been much spending," Forbes said, the newspaper reported Thursday.
Forbes said the tax rebates provided in the bill "are just one-shots and don't do any sustainable good." The billions spent helping the automotive industry also had little economic benefit, he said.
After its reorganization, General Motors Co. would be down to 38,000 workers, Forbes said. With billions spent to prop up GM and Chrysler, "this was just a payoff to unions -- nothing to do with stabilizing the economy," he said.
Forbes was also unimpressed with the tariff on Chinese tires announced by President Barack Obama.
"The idea that we're going to compete with China by slapping tariffs on tires and stuff like that is preposterous,'" he said.