Research Desk: How much "other" stimulus has been passed?
By Dylan Matthews
We keep hearing about how the stimulus was too small. True. But it also wasn't the last word on stimulus/rescuing the economy. Congress has passed numerous fixes, assistance, etc since then. How much TOTAL money has Congress thrown at the problem. After all, unemployment assistance, food stamps, state aid, etc is not *only* stimulative when it's in the stimulus bill.
As roquelaure_79 says, Congress has passed a lot of stimulus-related legislation. Most of these were small-scale measures like the HIRE Act or Cash for Clunkers. The question is how to tally it all up.
Luckily, in their recent paper (PDF) measuring the effect of federal policy on the recovery from the recession, Mark Zandi and Alan Blinder (read their interviews with Ezra here and here) add up all this miscellaneous spending, as well as the stimulus signed into law by the Bush administration in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. They also assume that, through 2011, Congress will pass another $80 billion in stimulus: $50 billion in extended unemployment benefits, $25 billion in aid to states and $5 billion in lending funds for small businesses and other measures. Considering that a $33 billion unemployment benefit extension not included in the paper has been signed into law, and $26 billion in state aid and $30 billion in small business lending are being considered, this might actually low-ball the real figure. Add these three bills to the Blinder/Zandi estimates and the combined fiscal stimulus from 2008 to the present amounted to $1.156 trillion:
As you can see, the ARRA is still responsible for the vast majority of fiscal stimulus since the economic downturn. It would be tempting to look at the $1.156 trillion figure and note that this is close to Christina Romer's $1.2 trillion initial estimate for the stimulus bill, but it's important to note that the largest other measure, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, had already been passed during the 2009 stimulus debate, and that many of the unemployment insurance extensions and other measures might have been passed following a larger stimulus anyway. That is, even with these other bills, the actual stimulus was still much smaller than Romer said it needed to be.
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