On Thursday, the government released data claiming $16 billion in stimulus money has saved or created 30,383 jobs. Extrapolating those numbers, the administration’s chief economist estimated total stimulus spending would mean more than 1 million new or saved jobs. But do the 30,000 jobs represent a good return? And since the federal contracts for which data was reported this week represent just a sliver of the overall stimulus package, what do they really say about the impact of the stimulus as a whole?
New York state put hundreds of dollars in federal stimulus money into food stamp accounts, causing a literal run on the bank last month. Families of about 800,000 low-income children qualified for the one-time payments — $200 per child for back-to-school supplies and clothes. Critics said the state bungled it by attaching no strings to how the money could be spent. But equally problematic, 23 states haven’t applied for these stimulus dollars yet, many because they can’t afford to appropriate the 20 percent matching funds that are required.