Some Stimulus Facts: How Big Is It?

| February 7, 2009 | Reply

So it looks like a couple alleged Republicans have made themselves a deal in the Senate to push Stimulus Bill to a vote. What I’m betting you haven’t seen is exactly how big the bill rally is. Before the horse-trading began, the bill stood at $825 billion and when you include the debt service on the bill, it jumps up to $1.172 trillion dollars. That number has not changed appreciably so I’ll use the original numbers.

We know that’s a lot of money, but let’s look at just how much money that is. I crunched some numbers and I am astounded at just how much of our cash Congress wants to throw down the toilet.

If there were a country called Stimutopia and its Gross Domestic Product equaled the total Stimulus Bill, it would have the 12th largest GDP in the world. That’s bigger than India or China. The interest alone would be the 27th-largest economy in the world. If we put Stimutopia in South America, the interest payments alone would be the second-largest economy on the continent. The entire bill would be a mere $141 billion smaller from taking the top spot from Brazil.

Congress is throwing around, with barely a week of debate, more money than most countries generate in an entire year. Do you think that’s wise? I sure as heck don’t.

But you don’t need to look at country-sized numbers to get a sense of just how much of your money Congress is talking about spending. Let’s imagine that it was your job to spend this stimulus money. If you started right now and spent a million dollars every day until you had spent the principle amount of the Stimulus Bill ($825 billion) today, you would spend your last penny on June 19, 4395. Well, you wouldn’t. Your descendants 82 generations from now would finish the job you started.

I’ll bring it even closer to home. If someone had started spending a million dollars a day starting on January 1, 1 AD, they would still have over $138 billion dollars left and a little over 380 more years to go.

That, folks, is a lot of money to spend on a truckload of programs with no track record of ever stimulating the economy enough to bring us out of a recession.

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