Study: Stimulus Not Yet Helping Unemployed, Poor
A Herculean, county-by-county study of per capita spending so far under the $787 billion stimulus shows that if any of the money spent so far is actually getting to the unemployed and poor, it's by pure chance.
This is according to a study released today by non-profit journalism outfit ProPublica.
Only 12 percent of the stimulus money has thus far been spent, ProPublica reports.
This is not surprising; the stimulus was back-loaded from the get-go. It will take until the end of next year for even 75 percent of it to be spent. That's why all the grumbling.
What ProPublica dug up that's surprising and a bit distressing is the distribution of the bailout money spent so far.
The report compares Trigg County, Ky., and LaGrange County, Ind. Both have unemployment rates much higher than the national average -- 15.8 percent in each county.
But so far, each resident of Trigg has received $2,149 worth of stimulus spending.
By contrast, each resident of LaGrange has received only $33.
And check this out: "The biggest winner so far — at nearly $12,000 per resident — is Thomas County, an area of 583 people in the Nebraska Sandhills. Unemployment there is 4.8 percent, about half the national rate," the ProPublica report reads.
Takeaway: It's probably unfair to criticize the stimulus for not doing a lot yet, because it was intended to be back-loaded. But it's perfectly fair to criticize the random -- and inequitable -- way in which the funds spent so far have been distributed.
Speaking of ProPublica, The Ticker likes to check in occasionally on its handy-dandy Bailout Tracker, a wealth of information on all things bailout.
August 5, 2009; 4:55 PM ET
Categories: The Ticker | Tags: ProPublica, bailout, stimulus plan
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