Tallying the Total Cost of Stimulus
Yesterday, the House reconvened to pass and President Obama signed into law a $26.1 billion package granting aid to state governments — $16.1 billion for Medicaid and $10 billion to prevent the layoffs of teachers. While intended as job-saving stimulus, the bill did not add to the deficit. Rather, Congress raised a bit more money from corporations and shifted spending around — closing a tax loophole on companies sending jobs overseas, rescinding unspent funds from other programs and trimming the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2014.
The state aid bill might be the last such provision for a few months, with unemployment insurance taken care of through the end of November and a number of more ambitious jobs bills dead. So, 19 months into the Obama administration, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget took the time to tally up the various stimulus measures. By their count, they total $1.025 trillion. Dylan Matthews, writing at The Washington Post, counts $1.156 trillion.
That sounds like a lot. But the recession has cost the U.S. economy something like $2.7 trillion.