The economic stimulus bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives late Wednesday is mind-boggling in its magnitude – $819 billion in new spending and tax cuts.
It’s surely not a perfect bill, either, but then there really is no such thing. Some of its smaller components don’t meet either the job creation or money-in-families’-pockets tests, and there’s plenty of room for improvement as the process moves forward.
But the thrust of the legislation is essential to the nation’s economic recovery. That’s the opinion of President Obama and the Democratic majorities in Congress, but it’s also the view of most economists and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And polls show public support as high as 80 percent for stimulus legislation.
The historically tested idea is to generate new economic activity that wouldn’t otherwise take place by infusing cash into the marketplace. The public infrastructure spending in the legislation should mean stepped-up highway construction in Northeast Mississippi. The increased unemployment benefits and health care assistance will help those who have lost jobs, while the tax cuts are designed to prime the spending pump for individuals and businesses, giving the economy a shot in the arm.
Meanwhile, Mississippi’s hard-hit state budget -including funding for schools and Medicaid -would get major help from the legislation. Public schools in Mississippi would receive $507 million over the next two years.