The debate over the stimulus is mostly settled -- the public overwhelmingly believes the money was "mostly wasted." It's not even close. But two years after the bill's passage, the scale of the waste may be
Every few months, the Congressional Budget Office produces a legally required report on the stimulus package. Each report includes a loose estimate of the number of jobs created, which is based not on economic realities, but on formulas created several years ago for government spending and job creation. The report is useful for tracking the stimulus and its costs, but as CBO's director has pointed out, it should not be considered as an independent check on whether the stimulus is successfully creating jobs.
But CBO just released its latest report yesterday, with a slightly lower number of jobs supposedly "created or saved" than the previous report, and a slightly higher price tag ($821 billion). When you do the math, as they did at CNS News, you find that every stimulus job cost a lot of money, even if you accept the CBO assumptions at face value:
[T]he $821 billion cost of the stimulus divided by the maximum of 3.6 million jobs the CBO believes the stimulus may have saved or created equals an average of $228,055 per job.
At the lower end of the CBO’s top job-creating-and-saving estimate for the stimulus—1.4 million jobs—the jobs would cost an average of $586,428 a piece.