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As Stimulus Funds Run Out, Economic Fears Rise
With home sales sliding, employers reluctant to hire and world stock markets gyrating wildly, the U.S. economy is in danger of stalling. Now one of its only reliable sources of fuel is running out: federal stimulus spending.Funds flowing from the $787 billion legislation passed last year have helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs and propped up social programs such as unemployment benefits. But with much of that money spent and lawmakers reluctant to approve another big round of spending, concerns are rising about what will replace it in the short term to keep the economy moving.Jitters about a global slowdown pounded world markets recently after an index forecasting Chinese economic activity was revised downward and Greek workers walked off the job to protest government budget cuts. In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average plunged 268 points on news from the Conference Board that consumer confidence fell in June after three straight months of gains.Economists worry that the weak labor market will spook U.S. consumers, whose spending fuels the economy. Dwindling federal stimulus funds are only heightening those fears.California’s $85 billion share of stimulus funding has repaired bridges and highways, built barracks on military bases and renovated crumbling infrastructure. Disabled ... more

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