A Question of Stimulus

There has been ample debate on whether stimulating the economy with extra spending is a good idea.  While we are certainly far from consensus, there is at least a persuasive argument as to why we need to spend.  Or in the words of Obama "...it's a spending bill... That's the whole point. To provide stimulus."

However, I can't help but think that not all spending is equaliy stimulating.  I'm eager for a discussion on which type of spending is more or less stimulating. We hear warnings that states and organizations are on notice not to be wasteful, but that is too vague.  I think we need clarity as to what type of spending will provide greater stimulus.

For example, on education spending, the stimulus money is being distributed in ways that leave some districts with money they really don't need and other districts without money they do.  But because everyone is getting money, no one is complaining.  As reported in the New York Times, the education secretary, Arne Duncan, said that he, too, was aware of the disparities but that no formula was perfect. “In this case, people are just extraordinarily thankful for these unprecedented resources,” Mr. Duncan said in an interview. “So I’m aware of these disparities, but we’ve received zero complaints.”

Utah, where a $1.3 billion budget deficit has threatened deep school cuts, will get about $655 million in education stimulus money, or about $1,250 per student, according to the federal Department of Education. Wyoming, which has no deficit and has not cut school budgets in many years, will get about $1,684 per student.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009