Spending the Stimulus: $46 Billion Down, $741 Billion to Go

How much of the stimulus money had been injected into the economy through the first 4½ months of the year? As of mid-May, about 6% of the money — $45.6 billion – had been paid out. Much of that went to Medicaid costs, unemployment benefits and the $250 checks to Social Security recipients. Highway projects had received $11 million. The Transportation Department had committed an equivalent amount, but the money has not gone out yet.

In all, some $88 billion had been committed to various types of projects and programs. The administration points out that it is a two-year program, but many state officials and others remain anxious. The administration has committed to spending 70% of the money, or $550.9 billion, within the first two years.

Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview recently, "I think that what you’re going to see happen here is the velocity of this will increase not just arithmetically, but geometrically here. At least, we’ve got to make that happen."