Do you want to know where all those $787 billion/however-many stimulus dollars are going? Here's the low down on President Obama's aggressive plan.
The Stimulus Plan: Where Are All Those Dollars Going?
President Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus plan made plenty of headlines, and continues to do so. It has generated more than enough criticism as well.
This is to be expected. There’s nothing small about $787 billion. Many taxpayers complained that the stimulus package was nothing more than a giant-sized helping of government waste, while others are worried that the money would do little to stem the country’s economic slump.
But lost in the debate was the answer to the most important question: Where exactly did the money in the $787 billion stimulus go? After all, isn’t the government already in debt?
Where Stimulus Is Going
One place to track where the money is going is the Recovery.gov website, which provides an overview of the funding and how it is being spent. The largest share of the money, $244 billion, went to provide a variety of tax cuts, both for individuals and businesses. For instance, $90 billion covers a variety of business expensing tax breaks while a total of $25 billion goes toward the earned income tax credit. An additional $20 billion supports the renewable energy tax credit and $10 billion will support the cost of a wide range of tuition tax credits.
Next comes aid to state and local governments, which comprises of $217 billion. Of this, $87 billion goes toward Medicaid cost sharing and $79 billion to state grants. A total of $42 billion goes toward state and local bond tax credits, while $5 billion and $4 billion go toward community development and rural development. On the Medicare side, stimulus money is helping Medicare providers upgrade their systems with incentives for electronic health records technology.
The stimulus plan allocates $120 billion toward general relief programs. This includes $42 billion to cover extended unemployment insurance, $40 billion for health insurance for the unemployed, $20 billion for expanded food stamps, $11 billion for housing assistance, $4 billion for supplemental Social Security payments and $3 billion for welfare programs.
The country’s crumbling infrastructure will receive an additional $101 billion. This includes $30 billion for new highway construction, $20 billion for school renovations, $17 billion for health information technology, $13 billion for transportation projects, $8 billion for water projects, $7 billion for the construction of military and Veterans Affairs hospitals and $6 billion to cover the accelerated deployment of broadband technology.
The stimulus plan also allocates $59.5 billion for projects that increase energy efficiency throughout the country. Included in this is $22 billion for energy-efficiency grants, $11 billion to develop a smart electric grid and $8 billion for renewable-energy loan guarantees.
Finally, the plan provides $45.5 billion for human capital needs. This includes $25 billion for education programs, $15 billion for new Pell grants, $4 billion for job training and $2 billion for new scientific research.
Some Projects: Little Support
This is certainly a long list. It’s filled with many projects that have little support. Critics, for instance, might frown at $3 billion more for welfare programs or $20 billion to expand the food-stamp program. Others might scoff at $59.5 billion for boosting energy efficiency or $13 billion for new transportation projects.
Problem is, there are just as many people who wonder why the government isn’t spending more than an extra $3 billion for welfare programs or $20 billion for food stamps.
How about you? When you look at the list, what would you like to see expanded, dropped or added? There’s one thing upon which we can all agree: Making that decision is no easy task.