Creative Stimulus Analysis Online

by

We’ve always got an eye out for creative strategies for engaging with legislation, and sometimes, those strategies emerge around specific initiatives.

Over the last week, two such projects have been created for analyzing the stimulus package.

First, a broad coalition, led, I believe, by the Heritage Foundation, have created ReadTheStimulus.org, devoted to crowdsourced processing and analysis of the stimulus bill.  The site boasts comment sections organized by page, complete with embedded pdf scans of the original bill (or report).

Second, WashingtonWatch.com has launched a stimulus watching contest:

Your goal is to identify spending in the economic stimulus bill that will do a really good job of stimulating the economy, or a really bad job. A $100 prize will go to the best comment identifying good stimulus spending – the spending that will do the most to get the economy on its feet – and another $100 to the best comment identifying bad stimulus spending – spending that will just fall in a hole or even make the U.S. economy worse.

Take any part of the stimulus bill and write a short case for why it’s good or bad. (Recommended: search the bill for “$” – there are more than 350 of them.) Pick anything – from an entire government department to the smallest program. You can even pick a non-spending provision in the bill that you think will do good or bad.

We’ll be watching both projects, and are encouraged by the creative approaches being applied to legislative analysis, in the same spirit as publicmarkup.org.

Categorized in:
Share This:
  • Tom Bogetich

    The more I read about the “Stimulus Bill” the more I am convinced that those in charge of the House of Representatives are out to give Americans a free lunch and nothing more. It’s like they swept up the kitchen of every special interest and collected it into piece of Legislation and called it a Stimulus Bill and are trying to push it through Congress as a partisan Bill. Very little if any imput has been considered from the Republican members. The Speaker, Pelosi, gave them a “Chicago One-Finger Salute” saying we won the election and we are going to pass this Bill without your input and hardly any or darn little from the President.

    If the Democrats and the President are really interested in stimulating the economy then they should not rush this Bill through Congress without giving time to measure the consequences of its passage. It needs to be done right even if it has to be broken into several Bills. In its present form, it will take years to even figure out what is in the Bill and how and if any of it worked other than it placed a major fiscal burden on everyone for decades to come.

    The basic question that needs to be answered is what in the economy needs fixing by Government that a free economy can’t fix quicker, is longer lasting and places less burden on taxpayers? A historical review will find that less government intervention during hard economic times turns things around more quickly. The free market works every time.

    The second question is how do special interest needs and campaign promise proposals trump proven methods to improve the economy. It is very well documented that reducing taxes on individuals and business stimulates economic growth. A very small portion of the Stimulus Bill reduces taxes and provides welfare checks to lower income families most of home don’t pay any taxes. Yet, it billed as reducing taxes. Please explain that to me.

    The Stimulus Bill was sold by the President to help rebuild our infrastructure, roads, schools, etc. Yet, a very small portion of the Bill actually goes toward that priority. Another priority of the President is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil to power our industry, business, homes and the like. Further, he wants more fuel efficient vehicles that do not depend on using fossil fuel. So, to achieve this ideal the Stimulus provides $600 million to replace the government’s fleet of vehicles. Granted, the stimulus will force development and production of these vehicles. However, their costs will be so high that the average American can not afford to buy them. Unable to sell them other than to the Federal Government will force Detroit into another economic crisis and result in the need for more bailout money. Second, if some were sold to the public will there be the capacity (infrastructure) to service and fuel them with what ever is used to power them. None of this is thought out yet we will forge ahead like a bull in a China Shop to accomplish Obama’s ideal.

    Aside from the Stimulus Bill Congress just passed a Bill to provide medical care for children. Many these children already have private insurance. The expected outcome is more kids will receive needed medical care but many families who already have private insurance will drop theirs and go on the new Federal program. So, the anticipated number children to be served will probably fewer than projected. When that happens, Congress will appropriate more money and the same thing will happen in the second go around. The Liberal mentality is to throw money at problems until they are solved or we run out of money. Can anyone tell me what problem has been solved with Federal dollars.

    Democrats are hell bent to follow Rosevelt’s New Deal, or a variation thereof, to fix things. Historians will tell you that his policies did not work. If anything, they prolonged the Depression. Obama’s quick study of FDR seems to emulate in his approach to solving our nation’s fiscal ills. Caution to the wind Mr. President or you will repeat history.

    Mr. President, using fear saying to the public if nothing is done quickly we may have an even longer downturn in the economy. Tone down the rhetoric Obama. You don’t need to get something done, even if it is wrong, to show you can get things done quickly. When things do go wrong following that image building strategy, you won’t stand a chance for a second term. The first three weeks are already dismal with you picks for key posts. Campaing rhetoric and promises and follow through do not jibe. You have lied to the people to keep your campaign promises for transparency and high standards. I guess what you meant by Change is the criteria used to select those who will serve in your administration is they haven’t payed their taxes. Given the economy, my guess many more will follow their lead as you have forgiven your people. Are you planning to do so. A double standard is a no no Obama.

  • We’ve been doing our own mini-version of this with regard to broadband-related portions of the stimulus bill, at http://development.broadbandcensus.com/zipcodes/states, which is BroadbandCensus.com’s own “Broadband Wiki.”

    We’ve also got links to recent articles about the legislative state of play of the broadband pieces: “House Appropriations Committee Seeks $6 Billion for Broadband, Would Impose Speed Requirements Upon Most Grant Recipients,” at http://broadbandcensus.com/blog/?p=1250, and “President-Elect Obama Urges ‘Expanding Broadband’ and Stimulus Proposals Proliferate ,” at http://broadbandcensus.com/blog/?p=1181