Another day, another talking point proven to be false. From the NYT:
Two weeks ago, a Congressional committee posted a table of numbers on its Web site that gave an early answer. The numbers came from the Congressional Budget Office and seemed to show that only 38 percent of the money in the bill would be spent by September 2010. That didn’t sound very stimulating, and the numbers soon caused a minor media sensation.
But anyone who looked closely would have seen something strange about the table. It suggested that the bill would cost only $355 billion in all, rather than its actual cost of about $800 billion.
Why? It turns out that the table was analyzing only certain parts of the bill, like new spending on highways, education and energy. It ignored the tax cuts, jobless benefits and Medicaid payments – the very money that will be spent the fastest.
On Monday evening, the Congressional Budget Office put out its analysis of the full bill, and it gave a very different picture. It estimated that about 64 percent of the money, or $526 billion, would be spent by next September