Alright, here's another bunch of information (hopefully factual) that perplexes me about the "Stimulus Package" and it's "immediate" rescue of the economy and instant creation of million of jobs (seems doubtful according to this):
An overoptimistic stimulus plan
According to the CBO, less than half of the $355 billion the bill allocates to infrastructure and other "discretionary" projects would actually be spent by the end of 2010; of that, a mere $26 billion would be spent in the current fiscal year. "The rest would come in future years," the Washington Post reported, "long after the CBO and other economists predict the recession will have ended." (Congressional Democrats expressed great displeasure with the CBO’s findings, and the report was mysterious yanked off the Internet. A new version appeared yesterday with -- presto! -- numbers more to the Democrats’ liking.)
Wasn't the whole point of turbocharging this stimulus bill - recall that President Obama had originally hoped it would be ready for his signature on Inauguration Day - that there is no time to waste in pumping these funds into the economy? "If we do not act boldly and swiftly," the president warned in his weekly address on Saturday, "a bad situation could become dramatically worse."
Yet, of the $30 billion the House bill allots for highway projects, less than $4 billion would be spent before 2011, according to the CBO’s original calculcations. Of $18.5 billion earmarked for renewable energy, less than $3 billion would make it through the pipeline within two years. Of $14 billion for school construction, only half would be used by the end of next year. The administration claims that vast fiscal intervention is urgently required to "save or create" as many as 4 million jobs by the end of next year. Even if you buy the Keynesian argument that mammoth deficit spending will jump-start economic growth, it's tough to see how it does so by the end of next year if most of the outlays only occur thereafter.
And now for something different:
I looked at the list of line by line items (at least in an earlier version of the bill) and was confused. Many/most of the line items were funding for already existing government programs -- not increases necessarily, just funding as part of the stimulus package which is being touted as the new rescue attempt. But wait -- those programs/agencies/recipients at state and local levels are already part of the federal annual budget -- so why put them over here in a "stimulus package" bill rather than in the regular annual budget request to Congress? Is this some sort of smoke and mirrors tactic?
I support the federal funding of so many of those projects and programs, military construction/government construction and research, etc. That could certainly lead to additional jobs, perhaps retraining for those who've lost their jobs lately. But those are not guarantees -- it could just be maintenance level funding for the government operations already existing, if you get what I mean.
For example, Child care/Head Start programs for example already are running and will continue to do so. Their existence (due to federal and sometimes state subsidies) can allow many parents to be able to go to work and still afford reasonable child care while they are at work. So feasibly, new people could get jobs and work and earn income, etc. But it's not clear why this example is in a Stimulus Package without much more explanation.
As I said, the majority of the line items already exist in federal budgets past and present -- why put them into a Stimulus Package and drive the cost of that package up -- is this a ploy to seemingly "lower" government spending on the one hand and hide the expenditures in another more "crucial" package?
And more than anything, if the money in fact dribbles out over 3 years or more -- how is that really going to make an emergency repair of the ruptured economy and its human victims RIGHT NOW?
ETA: I was also perplexed by the previous $850B "Bail Out" package which bloomed up to that absurd level with all the added "pork" before it left Congress -- and mostly without question and most of what (maybe 1/2?) has been released so far without controls or oversight, it seems. This is folly!
Comments are welcome!