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CBO Reports Stimulus Plan Will Work

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“CBO anticipates that implementation of H.R. 1 would have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years.”
– From the real CBO report released last night

Kevin Drum digs in…

Specifically, they estimate that in the spending portion of the bill, $477 billion out of $604 billion would be disbursed either this fiscal year or in the next two fiscal years. That’s 79% of the total.

I guess opinions can vary on this, but that strikes me as pretty good. What’s more, most of the spending that comes in FY2012 or later is either for projects that simply take more than two years to complete (highways, school repairs) or infrastructure improvements that have long-term paybacks (renewable energy programs). There are a few other items in the out years that are more arguable, but they add up to a pretty small portion of the bill.

Overall, then, it looks like the spending part of the bill is maybe 90% clean as short-term stimulus. And on the supply side, nearly 100% of the tax cuts are allocated during the next 18 months. Given the realities of the appropriations process, I’m not sure the White House could have done much better than this.

Oh, I’m sure we’ll hear plenty from Republican lawmakers about how the government could have done better than this, but it looks like the report validates the mix of government spending and tax cuts that the administration proposes.

And as for the longer term infrastructure spending, do you think it’s a good thing or a bad thing to have money pumping into this economy on a continuous basis for the next 4 years just in case the initial bump doesn’t have the desired effect? We need to practice some patience right now because a lack of it is what contributed to this collapse in the first place.

And now if Obama can just get the family planning money out of there…