Critics of President Barack Obama's stimulus plan say only a small fraction of the promised $787 billion has actually been spent so far - most is working its way through government bureaucracy.
That's certainly not true for one town in Tennessee with Depression-era levels of unemployment - it's benefiting from an unusually direct, almost un-American approach.
Armstrong's Turnover Company in the town of Linden has been in business for half a century. It relaunched recently and seems to have been unaffected by the current climate.
The difference is state intervention. Two-thirds of the workforce are paid for directly by the government. The town is part of a unique experiment where the state uses stimulus money to employ people in private businesses.
The BBC's Katty Kay went to Linden to find out more.