A few notes on the stimulus

So the 2009 stimulus bill (or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or the ARARARARARA) looks like it'll bounce its way out from between the House and Senate soon and actually pass. The Washington Post published this cool infographic showing the distribution of the bulk of those 819 billion little dollars.

The Republicans kept pressing for a 60/40 split in favor of tax cuts, but as you've heard in their fury and can see in that chart the Democrats plopped down big balls of financial distribution split almost 80/20 in favor of spending. Most of those gargantuan fiscal sacks relate to housing, energy, health care, education, food assistance and infrastructure (like highway and bridge repair). In other words, the majority is geared towards investment in programs neglected by the Bush Administration for eight years as it tried to fulfill Grover Norquist's dream of shrinking government "down to the size where [he could] drown it in the bathtub".

Even though most of the bill is stimulative some (relative) pork weaseled its way in as reported today by the Post. Some highlights include funding for clean coal, fish hatcheries and tax breaks for golf carts and electric motorcycles. Still:

Stimulus advocates say the GOP complaints are overheated and generally focus on projects that Republicans dislike for ideological reasons. Chad Stone, chief economist at the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, defended the bill. "The overwhelming bulk of what is in the package is effective and well-designed stimulus," he said.
Looking back at that infographic the gray ball all the way on the right ($82.1 billion for "Tax credit payments") constitutes the part of the stimulus people would most likely compare to the rebate checks distributed last year. Instead of a lump sum check that money gets spread out so that starting in June you'll see between $5 and $20 knocked off of your payroll taxes for about two years. So now instead of running out and buying that celebrity-narrated GPS even though you can't afford to put gas in your damn car maybe you'll be able to go out to dinner once every couple of weeks instead. I hear sushi's pretty good.