Commentary

Taxpayer’s Guide to the Stimulus

The stimulus passed back in February was massive 1,000-plus page document that slogged through nitty gritty details for how nearly $800 billion would save our economy. The President promised more transparency in government. The President said he would post bills for five days before signing them so that the people could provide him with their feedback after reading the bill online. But not only was that promised ignored, the bill is so tedious that the layman citizen—or even most lawmakers—wouldn’t go through the whole bill to see just how wasteful much of the stimulus spending really is. That is why we have created the Taxpayer’s Guide to the Stimulus.

After four months of stimulus spending, the economy has not improved, the money has only been slowly spent, and it is becoming clear that stimulus spending doesn’t save an economy. The economy will get better, maybe by the end of 2009, but it won’t be because of this spending bill. Recessions eventually bottom out as the market self-corrects. How can we be sure the stimulus won’t save us? Look through it for yourself.

We have done our best to explain the provisions in simple language while pointing out some of the policy implications of the spending. There are charts and graphs that show the spending, a table of costs, and a breakdown of spending for each sector of the American economy. We have also listed some resources for you to explore how the stimulus is being spent today.

Ultimately, we have found that the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” largely just provides general funds to government agency budgets, bloating the already large bureaucracy. The stimulus bill does not focus on fiscal responsibility, but rather makes the government even larger, funding many untested programs that could significantly add to government waste. From funding the War on Drugs to Comparative Effectiveness Research, the policy implications of the stimulus spending will leave a permanent stamp on the future of the American economy and society.

This Guide should prove useful to citizens and lawmakers at every level of federal, state, and local government. Click around and see what you can find.

Go straight to the introduction here:
http://reason.org/news/show/1007620.html

Or just check out the whole guide here:
http://reason.org/studies/show/1007618.html

Anthony Randazzo

Anthony Randazzo is a senior fellow at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.