The stimulus meets Obama's standard

A few weeks ago the Obama administration released a stimulus metrics report (pdf) promising that 75 percent of the stimulus would pay out in the first 18 months. Fiscal stimulus, said team Obama, should to be timely. And they received a bit of a drubbing for saying so: early reports suggested that the House version of the bill would pay out at a tardier rate than promised.

Well, earlier today the CBO released its cost estimate (sorry, another pdf) of the conference version of the bill. According to the CBO, the deficit will increase by $584.3 billion in the first 18 months, out of a total $787.2 billion deficit increase. By my math that's a 74.2251 percent payout rate. So unless someone wants to be awfully punctilious about the missing .7749 percent, I think it's safe to say that the stimulus bill meets the standard of timeliness that Obama set for himself.

On the other hand, if you substract the silly $70 billion for the AMT patch -- and I do want to be annoyingly punctilious about that -- the payout rate drops a couple of percentage points. Still, it's not bad.

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Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.

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