Economists Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor have produced a new study on the trillion dollar stimulus, and reached a few fairly unambiguous conclusions.
Our benchmark point estimates suggest the Act created/saved 450 thousand government-sector jobs and destroyed/forestalled one million private sector jobs.
This is exactly the problem many of use warned against -- that while a trillion dollars of expenditures would certainly employ some people, lost in all the discussions where how many people would have been employed had that trillion dollars been left in private hands. Seriously, the single fact that Obama refuses even to publicly acknowledge that there is an offset on the other side of this ledger is enough, all by itself, to disqualify him from the supposed status of being "really smart."
Further, I warned way back in January of 2009 I looked at the stimulus line item by line item and found very, very little of it was actually the claimed "shovel-ready infrastructure" projects. In fact, most were just bailout payments to state and local govenrments
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.
As of July of that year, we could write that "90 percent has gone to assist Medicaid and to stabilize tottering state budgets. Apparently this trend continued, as the recent study concludes
It appears that state and local government jobs were saved because ARRA funds were largely used to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases (Fig. A) rather than directly boost private sector employment (e.g. Fig. B).
This is the real post-election payoff to the SEIU - not visits to the White House, but the sacrifice of two private jobs to save one government job.