The proposed stimulus package's current price tag of $825 billion is a number that is hard to grasp.
It's so big, it would be the gross domestic product of the 19th largest country, just ahead of Australia, which doubles, of course, as its own continent. NBC's Carrie Dann reported that it would also be about the 2007 GDP totals of Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, the Phillipines and Hong Kong -- combined, and slightly more than the GDPs of Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan -- combined. The Wall Street Journal wrote, "The plan would be one of the largest single government expenditures in U.S. history, and would be equivalent to about 3% of gross domestic product over two years."
What's exactly in this thing? A lot, and it's wide-ranging -- from money for infrastructure and tax cuts to schools and health-care technology.
The package has some Republicans flabbergasted. See John Boehner's best attempt at a Chandler Bing impression: “Oh. My. God,” he said about the stimulus. And some Democrats have criticized it as not big enough
Certainly questions have been and will be raised about what items like information health-care technology, for example, have to do with economic stimulus, and why it's not in its own health-care legislation? Nonetheless, it is in there, with lots more.
Here is a breakdown of some of what's in the stimulus, by the numbers:
-- $825 billion total (as of 1/16/08)
-- $550 billion in new spending
-- $275 billion in tax relief ($1,000 tax cut for families, $500 tax cut for individuals through SS payroll deductions)
-- $ 90 billion for infrastructure
-- $ 87 billion Medicaid aid to states
-- $ 79 billion school districts/public colleges to prevent cutbacks
-- $ 54 billion to encourage energy production from renewable sources
-- $ 41 billion for additional school funding ($14 billion for school modernizations and repairs, $13 billion for Title I, $13 billion for IDEA special education funding, $1 billino for education technology)
-- $ 24 billion for "health information technology to prevent medical mistakes, provide better care to patients and introduce cost-saving efficiencies" and "to provide for preventative care and to evaluate the most effective healthcare treatments."
-- $ 16 billion for science/technology ($10 billion for science facilities, research, and instrumentation; $6 billion to expand broadband to rural areas)
-- $ 15 billion to increase Pell grants by $500
-- $ 6 billion for the ambiguous "higher education modernization."