The Obama administration is on track to reach a self-imposed stimulus milestone: spending 70 percent of Recovery Act money by the end of September.
The administration set the goal in February, on the first anniversary of the bill. According to our Stimulus Progress Bar that tracks spending, 62 percent of stimulus money has gone out the door, putting $490 billion into the economy. If the administration keeps spending at the same rate it has so far this year -- both in terms of direct spending and tax cuts -- it should easily meet the goal.
Last week, the White House released a blog post addressing criticism that more money hasn't gone out the door. Since two-thirds of stimulus money is tax cuts and unemployment checks -- which have already been allocated -- the post explained that the funds "aren't 'unspent' ... they just haven't been paid out yet." Got that?
Speed has been a priority for the stimulus as the administration tries to counter the highest unemployment rates since the early 1980s. The White House Council of Economic Advisers recently estimated that the stimulus has added 2.5 million to 3.6 million jobs to the economy.