What's In the Stimulus Package?
Submitted by Chris White on February 24, 2009 - 15:10
Shortly before the Economic Stimulus package became law I wrote a short piece outlining the kind of coverage of the plan which I would have liked to be able to read while it was going through Congress. I never did find that article so I never got to read it. Probably someone did write something like what I was looking for.
Meanwhile I put together a profile of stuff that is in the package with links to other places which seem to be relevant. This is not so much a collection of links to opinion pieces about the Stimulus. It is an attempt to put together a viewof what is in the bill which became law, what the money was appropriated for, and where it should be spent, over what kind of time frame.
It falls out quite neatly into three parts. First, by way of an overview, is Menzie Chinn’s analysis of the package with his colorful Graphics, together with the CBO report on the line item detail. Second, there are news reports from a variety of sources, some media, some professional type sources, on different areas of expenditure, specifically health, education, infrastructure spending, and the high speed rail and electric vehicle drive proposals. Third, I’ve provided links to the National Governors’ Conference, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the US Conference of Mayors. Each has their own view of the package, and what it means for their association. They also provide ways of exploring the whole matter, in some more depth, especially the State Legislatures, if any one is interested in doing that.
There is by now quite a lot of material out there from newspapers and stuff about spending plans for road and bridge work in various areas of various states, and how quickly everything is moving. Google stimulus roads bridges and the pile comes up. But I didn’t go there, because it is a bit overwhelming. On high speed rail though, there’s stuff on Florida, Texas, Chicago, California and more. Roads and Bridges work is being put out for bid now, and the work bid on now will be starting up in the next couple of weeks.
With that said let’s turn first to some opinion just to establish a frame, because there is a lot of discussion about whether the package is too big, too small, the right stuff, the wrong stuff, or what.
This is the analysis provided by Menzie Chinn at the Econbrowser which I found shortly after the bill passed on the Naked Capitalism site . I expect a lot of other people did too. Chinn aggregates the spending and the tax cuts separately and analyses the projected expenditures by year. He produces a set of interesting graphics which illustrate his argument that the package is probably too small. He also provides a link to the breakdown published by the Congressional Budget Office Line by Line.
On the expenditures under the second headings. This is a report from WebMD on the money for health care which is
going into the states, and how that funding will help transform the federal government’s relations to the states on questions of health care. The expenditures on education, which amount to $115 billion of total, are the largest single infusion into education spending ever, and are expected by some to have a transforming effect unlike anything seen since World War II. This is an account from an Indiana newspaper.
High Speed Rail was covered at Politico, along with an analysis of how the funds will be used in an infrastructure bank . Different aspects of the expenditures for the development of electric drive vehicles are referenced here. This link is to a pre-passage report on general infrastructure expenditures found on the Boston Globe’s web site.
The health spending starts to go into effect tomorrow (Wednesday February 25th) when the states are scheduled to receive $15 billion for Medicare expenditures.
The web sites of the national associations of governors, state legislators, and mayors have a lot to offer and great interest. The governors site reports on legislation from its point of view, and provides a link to Ed Rendell’s report on infrastructure and the economy which was presented at their just concluded conference, and also to the report prepared under Rendell’s supervision on Infrastructure and sustainable development.
The National Conference of State Legislatures has provided a ‘work page’ containing multiple links to different aspects of the package and calculators and related widgets to help figure out what it all means .The US Conference of Mayors reports on what their organization is up to.
And then of course there’s the three or four mouseketeers Sanford (SC), Jinjal (La), Barbour(MS) and Perry(Tx) who are getting so much coverage. What a world. Here’s one view of all that from the Dallas News.
It really seems to be so small minded compared to what this package has put into the mix, even if there will be more to come, because Chinn and Krugman and others are right, don’t you think? It really is a bit too small. Oh, and you know what level of stimulus was finally needed for FDR to bring unemployment down from 15% to 2%? Yes, it was the war, which we don’t want to do again. The amount though, was 29% of GNP. In today’s terms that would be more than four but less than five trillion dollars, quite a lot more than was just passed into law. But it seems this one will get the ball rolling quite nicely, for a while.
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