August 11th, 2009

News

Courtesy FiveThirtyEight.com

"One thing I don’t quite get has been the White House's reluctance to highlight the non-infrastructure parts of the stimulus package. Oh sure, people wanted more investment in roads and trains and energy grids and all that good stuff – I did too, and thought the stimulus package spent an inadequate amount of money on them. But you're left with the impression that the rest of the stimulus was just thrown down a well somewhere. In fact, it was not. The extension in unemployment benefits that the government provided under the stimulus, for instance, is turning out to be highly useful to a lot of people. I don't necessarily expect the people receiving extended unemployment insurance to turn around and write Obama a thank-you note – but the White House might want to at least occasionally make the point it's their initiative that is helping them to keep putting food on the table.

"Likewise with the tax reductions in the stimulus – which collectively made up $288 billion, or about 37 percent of the package. Most of those tax cuts are targeted at individuals. And while the they aren't terribly deep, they are impressively broad.

"The broadest tax cut in the stimulus package is the 'Making Work Pay' tax credit, worth about $116.2 billion (see the Urban Brookings Tax Policy Center for this and other figures) and applicable to the vast majority of working Americans. Indeed, all single filers making less than $95,000 and all joint filers making less than $190,000 are eligible for this tax cut. Most of them, in fact, are already receiving it in the form of lower withholding on their paychecks."