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Stimulus bill beset by questions, politics

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The unprecedented nature of the U.S. economic crisis has meant the authors of a proposed stimulus bill are working in the dark, analysts say.

With nothing to compare it to, the effort by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to address the deepening recession with massive government spending is being developed to appeal to Republicans demanding tax cuts, while at the same time not really knowing if the expected $800 billion is enough to make a difference, The New York Times reported Saturday.

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"We have very few good examples to guide us," William Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told the newspaper. "I don't know of any convincing evidence that what has been proposed is going to be enough."

"It's much bigger than anything that's been tried in my lifetime, but this is scarier than anything we've seen in my lifetime," added Alan Auerbach of the University of California, Berkeley, saying the overall scale of the program looked "reasonable" at $800 billion over two years.

Republicans have been adamant about the need for tax breaks, with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., telling the Times, "... The better bang for your buck is lower taxes that are certain and permanent and lasting."

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