In fact, Hollywood's portion of the stimulus package reveals an important factor of the Recovery Act: The money is not going to areas that would more directly stimulate the economy but instead to provide ongoing life support to deficit-ridden federal, state and local agencies.
That is the main impression I have gotten when reading the stimulus jobs data base -- the fake districts and BS accounting did not catch my eye so much as the fact that all the jobs seemed to be saved jobs in government agencies. I am pretty sure that had the stimulus been originally sold with its true goals -- to help stave off financial accountability in state and local governments -- it would have had more difficulty passing.
Though some of us saw this even in the bill itself (this blog, Jan 27, 2009)
So do you see my point. The reason so much of this infrastructure bill can be spent in the next two years is that there is no infrastructure in it, at least in the first two years! 42% of the deficit impact in 2009/2010 is tax cuts, another 44% is in transfer payments to individuals and state governments. 1% is defense. At least 5% seems to be just pumping up a number of budgets with no infrastructure impact (such as at Homeland Security). And at most 6% is infrastructure and green energy. I say at most because it is unclear if this stuff is really incremental, and much of this budget may be for planners and government departments rather than actual facilities on the ground.