Many manufacturers and NAM member companies have been disappointed by the slow and weak impact the stimulus measure — which the NAM supported — has had on the economy. (See this post.) The goal was both immediate stimulus (a la shovel-ready) AND dollars spent on investments that would strengthen U.S. competitiveness, especially infrastructure.
Now MSNBC provides some numbers that affirm the manufacturers’ dissatisfaction:
Of the $478 billion in direct spending (the rest is mostly tax cuts), the Congressional Budget Office figures only about $150 billion will be available this year.
Of that money, some agencies have done at lot better than others at writing checks. The Social Security Administration — which knows a thing or two about writing checks — has spent all $13 billion of its stimulus budget for this year. About three-quarters of the $21.5 billion allocated to Health and Human Services has been spent. And the Agriculture Department has processed about two-thirds of the $3.2 billion it has available this year.
But it seems that other agencies are having a harder time getting the money out the door. As of mid-June, for example, spending by the Transportation Deptartment for so-called “shovel ready” projects represented barely 2 percent of available funds. The EPA has barely touched its $4.4 billion in stimulus spending. Same for the Defense Department.
So spending with minimal stimulus and little if anything to enhance U.S. competitiveness. Sure. Bring on Stimulus II!
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