Conservatives have been touting a CBO analysis which indicated that less than half the money in the proposed stimulus plan would be spent within the next two years. But what it actually showed was that less than half the money involved in the portion of the stimulus plan that they scored would be spent within fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2010. That difference is important, because because there’s several months’ worth of difference between the time span “two years after President’s Day Weekend” (the target date for stimulus signing) and the end of FY2010 on October 1, 2010. It’s also important because the CBO didn’t score large swathes of the stimulus.
The White House has release to the press a letter form OMB Director Peter Orszag making these points:
The Congressional Budget Office recently released an analysis of a component of the economic recovery proposal; that analysis, however, did not assess the overall package. Our analysis indicates that at least 75 percent of overall package (including its tax component and the other spending provisions that were not analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office) will be spent over the next year and a half (the rest of fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2010).
We are committed to maintaining at least a 75 percent spend-out rate for the package as a while as the legislation moves through the Senate and House and into conference. In addition to jumpstarting the economy in a timely manner, we remain committed to providing unprecedented levels of transparency to the American people and the highest standards of accountability to the taxpayer about how the funds are spent.
So I’ve duly put this up on my blog. But this is why we need an OMBlog to succeed Orszag’s triumphant CBO Director’s Blog. They could put this kind of thing up there, and then people could just link.