Donald Lambro

-- Government-run programs at the federal, state and local level. This stimulus bill will pour billions into 150 different federal programs, from the money-losing Amtrak rail service to the Transportation Security Administration.

-- $15.6 billion goes into Pell Grants to increase each student grant by $500, though the added money ends in two years. This may be a worthy thing to do, but it's not going to create any new jobs.

-- $54 billion will go to 19 programs that the Office of Management and Budget has rated as "ineffective" or "results not demonstrated."

-- Much of the money will go to federal programs that still have unspent funding in their accounts. For instance, the bill will pump another $2 billion into the Army Corps of Engineers' water-construction program that still has $1.5 billion in unobligated funds.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's homeless-assistance program would get $1.5 billion despite an unobligated balance of $1.5 billion.

The General Services Administration has $3.3 billion of unspent funds, but GSA would get another $7.7 billion from the stimulus package.

-- Billions will be dished out under this so-called stimulus bill mostly to protect or create government jobs -- including money to renovate federal buildings, and $600 million for the government to buy brand-new cars and vans.

Overall, the stimulus would spend $16.4 billion on federal agencies that, among other things, will buy new computers, new office furniture for the Public Health Service, and add $50 million to the National Endowment for the Arts budget.

The money is being spread around like a slush fund, going out to every nook and cranny of the federal bureaucracy. This will not create a single new job, let alone stimulate the economy. Everyone from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to the Smithsonian Institution will get a piece of the action.

As for the plan's "making work pay" tax credit that will lower withholding taxes for low- to middle-class workers, it is estimated that this would add $10 to $20 per paycheck for those below the median income level.

That's far from the much-hyped economic "jolt" that Obama is promising beleaguered taxpayers.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.