The administration's website for tracking the stimulus spending, recovery.gov, has started to fill up with loads of useful information that is worth checking out. In particular, take a look at the spending updates. Bob Williams of the wonderful TaxVox blog says
the spending has "gotten off to an encouraging start" and we should
"watch to see how the game plays out." I agree with the latter part:
It's too early to judge the stimulus. But I really don't see what's so
encouraging about the information the government has released. If
anything, it's evidence that the government had better spend
Based on some back-of-the-envelop arithmetic, this chart makes it look like stimulus funds are becoming available at a rate of about $1.27 billion per day, and being spent at a rate of $0.26 billion per day. So the pool of available funds is growing about five times faster than the pool of total spending. By the look of the graph above, the rate doesn't appear to be getting any faster.
Of course, since the pool of total funds is fixed -- $787 billion dollars -- the rate of spending is all that really matters. But this rate of spending is not fast enough to satisfy the administration's own standard -- namely, that 75% of the stimulus be spent in the first 18 months. (See the administration's metrics report PDF for more.) 75% of $787 billion dollars is a tad over $590 billion. If $0.26 billion dollars are spent every day, it'll take more than six years to spend 75% of the stimulus money.