As Florida's unemployment rate goes over 11% , and critics continue to circle, national economists say stimulus package is working

There was more negative news on the job front on Friday:  It was announced that Florida's unemployment rate was at 11.2% in October, the highest level in 34 years.   According to the Labor Department, 29 states recorded unemployment rising last month, with Michigan over 15%, and California at 12.5%.

Despite all the conversation about health care, it's painfully obvious that the economic mess needs to be attended to in a more direct way than what the Obama administration has been able to do since passing the $787 billion stimulus plan back in February.

On Capitol Hill last week, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, probably the least favorite Cabinet member amongst progressives, got heat from the left and the right.  Two Texas  Republicans, Kevin Brady and Michael Burgess called on Geithner to resign, while Oregon Democratic Representative Peter DeFazio said the same thing to MSNBC's Ed Schultz last week.

On NBC's Meet The Press yesterday, host David Gregory tried to play a favorite Washington game of asking 3 members of the U.S. Senate  if indeed, they believed Geithner ought to go.

Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson (trailing to the more conservative Rick Perry in the race for the GOP nomination for Governor in Texas) initially praised Brady for calling Geithner out, but then said "we shouldn't keep our jobs either" if people were to  look towards who to blame for the economic crises.  I wonder if Governor Perry might save that piece of video in his campaign against the Senator.

California's Diane Feinstein and Connecticut's Joe Lieberman said no, with Lieberman calling the economy "horrible", but said that the $700 billion bailout and the stimulus plan were bring the economy back.  He also suggested that there were a few things that Congress and the President could do to stimulate the economy further without spending too much money.

Feinstein spoke excitedly about the prospect of high-speed rail being given more funding by the government(which Florida's leaders are eagerly hoping for).    And she said she'd like an infrastructure bank to be created from some of the funds from the TARP program to make those plans "work quicker."  And the California Democrat said it was time to concentrate on having U.S. citizens "buy American products."

At the same time, MTP host Gregory unveiled a graphic that was published in Saturday's New York Times that reported on three mainstream financial forecasting groups showing how the economy has been saved by the stimulus plan.

Those three are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers, and Moody's Economy.com

As reporters Jackie Calmes and Michael Cooper report:

In interviews, a broad range of economists said the White House and Congress were right to structure the package as a mix of tax cuts and spending, rather than just tax cuts as Republicans prefer or just spending as many Democrats do. And it is fortuitous, many say, that the money gets doled out over two years — longer for major construction — considering the probable length of the “jobless recovery” under way as wary employers hold off on new hiring.

I've written a lot about the stimulus this year, because it's only the biggest spending bill in American history.  And it's been criticized a lot, and sometimes, as in the embarrassing revelations that surfaced last week about factually incorrect information, been blasted as a complete boondoggle.

ABC News was able to locate several examples on the government's web site outlining hundreds of millions of dollars spent and jobs created in Congressional districts that have been misidentified.

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