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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

After 100 Days, What Has The Stimulus Accomplished?

So how is the stimulus working? A few measures:
We’re likely to hear a new figure for how much of the $787 billion has made it into the pockets of American workers. According to data on [3] [3], that number is $31.1 billion. But that doesn’t include tax cuts. A story [4] in the New York Times on May 12 puts the total at $45.6 billion.

The bulk of the money so far has come in the form of a middle-class tax break, increased unemployment benefits and food stamps, and federal assistance to prevent cuts in Medicaid. The infrastructure projects that many people imagine are only just beginning, with 545 under way [5] as of the end of April, according to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. A total of $116 billion, about 15 percent of the plan, has been "obligated." That is defined as money made available to state and local governments or committed to a specific project.

We’re also likely to hear that the stimulus package has created or saved more than 150,000 jobs and will create or save another 600,000 jobs [6] by August. These estimates are based on economic models [7] by the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. So how many jobs have really been created? As my colleague Olga Pierce has noted, the world may never know [8].


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