The voices of Tax Policy Center's researchers and staff
We graded many of the provisions in the Congressional stimulus bills, but resisted producing a bottom line. New York Times columnist, David Brooks, however, used our grades to calculate an overall grade point average (GPA) in today’s paper. Brooks calculated, based on our grades, that the Senate plan scores a 2.26 and adds that it's "not exactly the kind of report card you’re proud to take home to momma." Using the Brooks methodology the House plan would earn a 2.4. You wouldn't brag about that either.
Actual grade point averages, however, are weighted by credit hours.The GPA for the stimulus plans should be weighted by dollars spent on the stimulus. The $142 billion “Making Work Pay” credit in the Senate plan, which we gave a B+, shouldn’t count the same as the $.2 billion Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which we gave a D. If we weight the grades by how much they cost, the Senate bill garners a GPA of 2.49, a C+/B-. The House bill, which excludes such unstimulating items as the AMT patch, earns a solid B GPA of 3.06. I’d rather see a 4.0, but let’s face it, these students are seriously prone to distractions. Given their study habits, a B is not bad.
PS, Note the important caveat that we didn’t grade everything in either plan, although we doubt that the overall grades would change much if we did.
Posts and comments are solely the opinion of the author and not that of the Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute, or Brookings Institution.