The Clarion-Ledger Editorial, 2/17/9

President Barack Obama is scheduled today to sign the $787 billion economic stimulus package in what may be the most important step of his presidency that has only just begun.

The passage came late last week with a highly partisan vote on what Obama had hoped would be a bipartisan effort. Now, Democrats are crossing their fingers that it will work and Republicans are sharpening knives for if it doesn’t.

Obama and the Democrats claim it will boost employment and address some of the pressing issues of the economic recession, including billions to states for health care, education needs and public works projects.

Mississippi, which is highly dependent on federal funding even in normal times, is slated to receive up to $2.3 billion from the package. Infrastructure projects include $341 million for roads and bridges and $20 million in drinking water projects. It also will mean $790 million for the state’s ailing Medicaid program and $489 million in state “stabilization” funds.