Stimulus Spending Slowed During Summer
Today's roundup of stimulus coverage:
The pace of stimulus spending on new grants and projects has slowed in recent months, despite a pledge by the Obama administration to get money out the door more quickly, USA Today reports. According to the paper, the government allocated an average of $1.3 billion a day for new grants and projects during the stimulus's first hundred days. However, since then, the pace of that spending has fallen to about $1 billion a day. The administration says that when tax cuts are included, the overall pace of stimulus spending actually increased slightly, and White House spokeswoman Liz Oxhorn called USA Today's approach "selective accounting."
The stimulus is good news for gun manufacturers. The Christian Science Monitor reports that gun sales to law enforcement agencies have increased 32 percent, and gunmaker Smith & Wesson said sales were up 30 percent in the first quarter. Stimulus money for police departments helped drive that increase, according to the Monitor: Police in Jeffersonville, Ind., are spending $63,000 to buy 74 new assault rifles, while police in Barre, Vt., are buying six handguns, 21 Taser guns and five shotguns. The article quotes a gun culture expert as saying that President Obama has become "gun salesman of the century."
Finally today, the stimulus has helped revive small-business lending, The New York Times reports. According to the Times' Robb Mandelbaum, small-business loan approvals increased from about $165 million a week at the beginning of the year to almost $400 million by August. Karen Mills, the administrator of the Small Business Administration, told Mandelbaum that much of the credit goes to the stimulus, which increased the percentage of small-business loans guaranteed by the federal government. However, Mandelbaum asks what happens in December, when the $375 million appropriated to the SBA by the Recovery Act is projected to run out.
Are you tracking the stimulus? ProPublica has set up a mailing list for reporters covering the stimulus, and you're welcome to join.
Officials have struggled to spend the nearly $800 billion stimulus package quickly and effectively.