Just how big is this stimulus, anyway?

posted at 4:15 pm on January 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

My friend Flip Pidot at Suitably Flip has an excellent graphical representation of the current stimulus package, with projected interest, in comparison to previous government programs.  Flip gives the figures in 2008 dollars, which makes it possible to compare, say, the Louisiana Purchase from 1803 to the New Deal.  I won’t copy the graphic here, because I want you to see it for yourself at Flip’s, but it’s an immediately impressive way to see the scope of the sinkhole the Democrats propose.

I will share the numbers, though, because all of us should be shouting these comparisons from the rooftops:

  • The Louisiana Purchase: $217,000,000,000.  (No wonder people thought Jefferson was insane.)
  • The race to the Moon: $237,000,000,000.
  • The New Deal: $500,000,000,000.
  • The Iraq War: $597,000,000,000.
  • The Obama-Reid-Pelosi Porkfest Stimulus:$1,173,000,000,000.

The Iraq War figure uses the mathematics of its critics, which includes the normal cost of the armed forces during that time regardless of their deployment — but so much the better for this comparison.  We could buy more of North America and do another moon shot, and we’d not only spend less than half of the current stimulus, we’d create a lot more jobs, too.  The so-called stimulus costs more than the Iraq War and the New Deal put together.

And while the Iraq War ostensibly cost more than the New Deal, it didn’t leave America anywhere near as bankrupt as the government meddling in the lending markets did.

Be sure to read Flip’s take on it, and spread the word.


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I really wish somebody would have the guts refuse to use the word stimulus with this monstrosity.

Vashta.Nerada on January 30, 2009 at 4:16 PM

I don’t think the graphic for this story on the homepage accurately reflects the difference in the numbers. Remember, the volume of a sphere is related to the cube of the radius. So a ball that looks just a little bigger than the one next to it will actually have a much larger volume.

A bar chart would have been better.

UltimateBob on January 30, 2009 at 4:18 PM

Of course now the same party who railed about how much the war was costing now have no problem with doubling it.

Esthier on January 30, 2009 at 4:18 PM

How much did WWII cost?

bilups on January 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Personally, I like Rush’s name for it: “Obama’s War on Prosperity.” An accurate and apt name for all of this junk!

UnderstandingisPower on January 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM

I really wish somebody would have the guts refuse to use the word stimulus with this monstrosity.

Vashta.Nerada on January 30, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Obama has the guts to call this the “recovery and reinvestment act”.

Doughboy on January 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM

awesome post.

rob verdi on January 30, 2009 at 4:20 PM

I wish someone would point out on national TV that this porkfest has cost us almost twice what the Iraq war did.

leetpriest on January 30, 2009 at 4:20 PM

the Iraq War cost are also spread out over going on 6 years now

jp on January 30, 2009 at 4:21 PM

We could buy more of North America and do another moon shot, and we’d not only spend less than half of the current stimulus, we’d create a lot more jobs, too.

Can we buy Canada?

CP on January 30, 2009 at 4:21 PM

I put a small sign in my car’s back window.

If your child was deeply in debt would you advise that child to borrow and spend more.

My daughter says no one knows what the heck I am talking about and I have had no response so she’s probably right. That said I don’t know if I expected a response I don’t do bumper stickers or anything.

Cindy Munford on January 30, 2009 at 4:21 PM

I see him standing in the rain
Raindrops falling on him
He doesn’t even seem to care
He stands there and smiles as if just at me

And I know
(I know, I know, I know, I know)
He will make me rich and happy
(rich, rich, happy, happy).
Money in his hair
Money everywhere

I love the Money Man
Oh, I don´t know just why
His Hope and Change simply catches my eye
I love the Money Man
He seems so generous and kind
He sweeps thoughts of $$$ into my mind

I know I have to say bravo
(bravo, bravo)
He smiles over at me
It’s as if he takes me by the hand
And we walk
To the bank alone

And I know
(I know, I know, I know, I know)
He will make me rich and happy
(rich, rich, happy, happy).
Money in his hair
Money everywhere

MB4 on January 30, 2009 at 4:22 PM

“Porkopolous” = Betelgeuse

Seven Percent Solution on January 30, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Compared to all the catwalling about the Iraw war, spent over 6 years, this is really funny, isn’t it. You shouldn’t forget the other trillion in rescue funds that didn’t.

tarpon on January 30, 2009 at 4:23 PM

MB4 on January 30, 2009 at 4:22 PM

+100 for the reference to the Cowsills’ “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things”. Awesome.

Ed Morrissey on January 30, 2009 at 4:23 PM

Folks, Obama/Soros are not stupid. This lays the groundwork for removing a small amount of pork and “revising” the Porkulus bill and then be in position to get 90% of their junk passed. I suspect Obama used Pelosi to be bad cop and will chide Reid in public (collude with him in private) to bring the bill he really wants to the Senate. Republican Senators: stand your ground and whatever is beyond tax cuts, refuse to vote for it!
Better yet, filibuster.

Christian Conservative on January 30, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Can we buy Canada?

CP on January 30, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Only if they will take a check.

MB4 on January 30, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Stimulus my foot.

This bill’s central purpose is the expansion of the federal government and its role in our lives. Period.

hillbillyjim on January 30, 2009 at 4:26 PM

Maybe it should be called The Democrat Hegemony Assurance Bill?

hillbillyjim on January 30, 2009 at 4:28 PM

UltimateBob on January 30, 2009 at 4:18 PM

+1 bump

10 times more dramatic in a bar graph form.. this “stimulus” is twice the size of anything else… that fact doesn’t come across too well with the spheres

gatorboy on January 30, 2009 at 4:28 PM

I don’t think the graphic for this story on the homepage accurately reflects the difference in the numbers. Remember, the volume of a sphere is related to the cube of the radius. So a ball that looks just a little bigger than the one next to it will actually have a much larger volume.

A bar chart would have been better.

UltimateBob on January 30, 2009 at 4:18 PM

UB – A bar chart would indeed show the relative size a little more clearly (e.g. stimulus = roughly double Iraq or New Deal), but the way Excel does these bubble charts, the magnitude is actually reflected in the area of the circle, rather than the volume of the sphere. So it’s only the square of the radius working against the comparison, not the cube. I think the 3-D nature of it gives it a more tangible quality though, in a Kramerican “Let’s dump this big ball of oil money out the window” kind of way.

flip on January 30, 2009 at 4:30 PM

It was a chart like this that helped kill Hillarycare in 1993. Arlen Specter (of all people!) produced an organizational chart that showed the unbelievable mess of agencies and boards that would have had a hand in running health care. It looked like a Rube Goldberg contraption was was extremely effective in scaring the crap out of Congress.

rockmom on January 30, 2009 at 4:31 PM

the weirdest thing is, WWII cost about 2+ trillion bucks in today’s money (though inflation might have shot that up even more, i always heard 2-3 trillion as a student)

think about that: mobilizing not ten thousand men, but something like 10 MILLION men fighting. Not just in W Europe, but in North Africa, in the Pacific Islands, towards Japan. WWII led to the manhattan project, the making of an atomic bomb (three times), the building of secret cities to make said bomb (oak ridge, tn; expanding hanford, wa; los alamos, nm); the huge expansion of military orders for jets and fighters and bombers at huge buildings like willow run factor in michigan; PAYMENT for every fighting man in the army, navy, marines, etc; tanks built by the thousands, guns by the million, ammunitions; communications; FUEL to run said planes & tanks; money to buy up land for training men in the states; the cost of ships, from cruisers to transports to carriers to battleships, not to mention espianage, and a total disruption of homeland society & economy, from 1941, all of 1942, 1943, 1944, and most all of 1945, in addition the MARSHALL PLAN where we bailed out of w. europe. We freed (the US) France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, W. Germany, Austria, Italy (including Sicily), Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, China, N. Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Soloman Islands, Micronesia, Guam, Wake, and even the Aleutian Islands in Alaska………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… for about the same amount of money as the september bailout + the obama ‘stimulus’.

and what do we get for that? STD prevention, pelosi’s condoms, and new sod on the national mall.

Pray for our republic

battleoflepanto1571 on January 30, 2009 at 4:31 PM

So we are talking the size of Jupiter.

Okay, that puts it in perspective.

Mr. Joe on January 30, 2009 at 4:32 PM

So if I understand this correctly, $3,900 for every man, woman and child in the country. I’m betting if you just sent an average family of 4 a $15,000 “stimulus” check and told ACORN to hold a bake sale, you’d get more bang for your buck. That said, if the gopvernment spending ginormous sums is good for the economy, why are in bad shape now with the way they’ve been spending recently?

trubble on January 30, 2009 at 4:32 PM

Can we buy Canada?

CP on January 30, 2009 at 4:21 PM
Only if they will take a check.

MB4 on January 30, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Will they toss in Mexico? It does not matter since most Mexicans are here already.

Mr. Joe on January 30, 2009 at 4:33 PM

The Iraq War: $597,000,000,000.

Of course, the lefties claim that Iraq somehow cost $3 Trillion, so they’ll ignore any comparison to a “stimulus” of $1.1 Trillion which they’ll further claim we need since the Iraq War (and the Neocons!) somehow prevented us from spending money we need here at home.

CP on January 30, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Protein Wisdom going out of business?

Mr. Joe on January 30, 2009 at 4:35 PM

When you think about NASA’s manned space program you think it is a lot of money, until you learn it is a fraction of one percent of the national budget.

Then you learn that this political payoff bill nearly doubles the size of the national budget.

This is just shameless, unconscionably, despicable government corruption.

Skandia Recluse on January 30, 2009 at 4:35 PM

OT: Blagojevich Translated for the Politically Impaired

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on January 30, 2009 at 4:40 PM

And get the Dems to own ALL of it Senate R’s.

WisCon on January 30, 2009 at 4:41 PM

I became confused when I heard these terms with reference to the word ‘service’.

Internal Revenue ‘Service’
U.S. Postal ‘Service’
Telephone ‘Service’
Cable TV ‘Service’
Civil ‘Service’
State, City, County & Public ‘Service’
Customer ‘Service’

This is not what I thought ‘service’ meant. But today, I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had hired a bull to ‘service’ a few cows.

BAM!!! It all came into focus. Now I understand what all those ‘service’ agencies are doing to us.

Laura in Maryland on January 30, 2009 at 4:42 PM

Awesome chart, 15 people just received it and the link.
This will show not only the size, but how ineffective it is.
Nothing like a “visual” to put it in perspective.

right2bright on January 30, 2009 at 4:43 PM

UltimateBob on January 30, 2009 at 4:18 PM

Agreed. But at least this is comparing numbers. The MSM likes to throw out a single jaw-dropping number just for shock value: “18 Billion Dollars in Bonuses!”. A single large number generally means nothing unless you compare it to something else.

ZenDraken on January 30, 2009 at 4:43 PM

Only if they will take a check.

MB4 on January 30, 2009 at 4:25 PM

I would have said credit card, but I don’t know what to call a card a billion times higher than platinum.

Vashta.Nerada on January 30, 2009 at 4:46 PM

I really wish somebody would have the guts refuse to use the word stimulus with this monstrosity.

Vashta.Nerada on January 30, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Obama has the guts to call this the “recovery and reinvestment act”.

Doughboy on January 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM

During the great depression, the C.C.C. was called the tree army.

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 4:47 PM

The Democrats should put Obama’s pecs next to these images so the stimulus doesn’t seem so impressive.

Chuck Schick on January 30, 2009 at 4:50 PM

I would have said credit card, but I don’t know what to call a card a billion times higher than platinum.

That would be a Rhodium Credit Card. It is typically the most expensive precious metal.

izoneguy on January 30, 2009 at 4:50 PM

Where is Warren Buffet on this stimulus package? I haven’t heard anything from him, but might have missed it. I have seen Jack Welch out there all week and for the most part, he has been quite negative. Just curious what Obama’s main economic advisor might be thinking.

sherry on January 30, 2009 at 4:51 PM

I really wish somebody would have the guts refuse to use the word stimulus with this monstrosity.

Vashta.Nerada on January 30, 2009 at 4:16 PM

One I read was “Stimuless” or “Porkulus”.

Amendment X on January 30, 2009 at 4:54 PM

10 times more dramatic in a bar graph form.. this “stimulus” is twice the size of anything else… that fact doesn’t come across too well with the spheres

gatorboy on January 30, 2009 at 4:28 PM

Bar graph much more dramatic…

right2bright on January 30, 2009 at 4:55 PM

I hate to get off subject, but I just got a disturbing e-mail about HR-45 and “The British called – They want their guns back”!, a u-tube presentation about self protection.

Johan Klaus on January 30, 2009 at 4:57 PM

sherry on January 30, 2009 at 4:51 PM

Buffet has a problem…he supported Obama, it is too early for him to eat crow, so I have a feeling you won’t hear much from him.

right2bright on January 30, 2009 at 5:06 PM

right2bright on January 30, 2009 at 5:06 PM

That’s what I thought. Thanks for your response.

sherry on January 30, 2009 at 5:08 PM

“The Louisiana Purchase: $217,000,000,000. (No wonder people thought Jefferson was insane.)”

Interesting off-topic data: The farms in the area of the Louisiana Purchase produced $1.3 trillion worth of food last year. Jefferson was crazy… like a fox!

Kevin M on January 30, 2009 at 5:15 PM

So, in terms of square miles, it’s like adding a whole new Central and Western United States to the map. Who could be against that?

I find it interesting that the legacy of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, cost about $100 billion more in 2008 dollars than the Iraq War to date.

And now we get to pump even more money into the favorite charities of the folk who got us into this fine mess in the first place. I really do hope the Senate holds the line.

unclesmrgol on January 30, 2009 at 5:17 PM

But the Idiot in Chief doesn’t think it’s big enough.

Maybe it doesn’t destroy the middle class fast enough to satisfy his handlers.

notagool on January 30, 2009 at 5:24 PM

no, no, no Vasta N. ….’the word stimulus’ is perfect.
The bailout…like a suppository up the a$$h*le of American’s wallet.

lobosan5 on January 30, 2009 at 5:27 PM

Laura in Maryland on January 30, 2009 at 4:42 PM

And the US Postal Service, that paragon of government efficiency, is going to save money by…. NOT DELIVERING MAIL (on Tuesdays, or maybe Saturdays).

Neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night… but our own inefficiency will definitely stay us from our appointed rounds.

hawksruleva on January 30, 2009 at 5:27 PM

It is JUPITER big, about 1400 times larger than Earth. Bigger than Rosie O’Donnell’s butt.

Mr. Joe on January 30, 2009 at 5:27 PM

The Mother of All Pork!

Hand raised by the Communist Democrat Party.

Mr Gus on January 30, 2009 at 5:32 PM

What did Alaska cost us?…7.2 million, we could get that back in one month of oil.

right2bright on January 30, 2009 at 5:39 PM

But the Idiot in Chief doesn’t think it’s big enough.

Maybe it doesn’t destroy the middle class fast enough to satisfy his handlers.

notagool on January 30, 2009 at 5:24 PM

Leave it to idiots to vote for him.

Cr4sh Dummy on January 30, 2009 at 6:08 PM

Even tho’ the Democrat Party is 150% behind abortion, it won’t happen to this reckless, immoral, hazardous, harmful, wasteful, destructive spending orgy. The dishonorable and corrupt Democrat Party is actively working to ensure this country will soon consist of a) an Elite from Holy-wood, Obama sucking media and political class (i.e. ‘Bourgeois’) and b) the unwashed masses forced to support the Elite’s lifestyles (i.e. ‘Proletariat’).

I really hope the Democrat Party remembers forgot what happened the last time.

SeniorD on January 30, 2009 at 6:28 PM

The Louisiana Purchase: $217,000,000,000. (No wonder people thought Jefferson was insane.)

Didn’t the Louisiana Purchase cost $15,000,000? I was pretty sure it did.

Aronne on January 30, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Ah, it’s inflation adjusted. I see.

Aronne on January 30, 2009 at 6:42 PM

“Not one person felt his or her district needed to have any of this assistance?” Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, asked of the Republicans. “That can’t be.”

It’s not that people need assistance.
It’s where the money is going.

Kini on January 30, 2009 at 6:45 PM

In the two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve probably killed at least a dozen Western-trained-engineer jihadis like Mohammad Atta, that would’ve been hanging around St. Louis or Dallas, planning terror operations, if they weren’t so busy fighting wars in their backyard the last few years. Keeping these jihadists busy, or killing them, might’ve saved us lots of blood and treasure. We’ll never know.

RBMN on January 30, 2009 at 6:47 PM

How much did WWII cost?

bilups on January 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM

In inflation-adjusted dollars, somewhere around $3.6 billion. I don’t know whether that includes the interest on the war bonds and other bonds sold to finance the war.

Of note, the WWII war effort represented most of America’s economic output.

steveegg on January 30, 2009 at 7:06 PM

Anyone who pays any attention to B.H.Obama’s political history will notice those who help him get to feed at the diner paid for by the public. Each job he got elected to, the more expensive the meals for those who helped. $5 billion in public money for ACORN should be a crime. Those who helped Obama will gain fabulous wealth from the public sector. Union bosses, big doners and states he won will get the lions share of this stimulous. Call it what you want, it is a polical payback. Chicago politics.

Zelsdorf Ragshaft on January 30, 2009 at 7:26 PM

I’m a person who lives by graphs… and I think this one could be improved.

People tend to think in 1 dimension. A simple bar chart would have better driven home that “WOAH! This bill is twice the cost of the Iraq War!” because the bar would be twice as long.

In this case the diameter of the circles changed only by a factor of the square root of two. (~1.41)

Representing numbers as areas understates there actual difference. Other then that… nice chart.

Micheal on January 30, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Can we buy Canada?

Better idea…let’s sell them California.

xblade on January 30, 2009 at 9:17 PM

Representing numbers as areas understates there actual difference. Other then that… nice chart.

Micheal on January 30, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Well said, Michael. This was my point in my earlier post (second from the top). The graphics appeared as spheres to me.

I once had a college course called “How to lie with statistics” (or something like that). Of all the sh!t I learned in college, that has been probably the most useful in my marketing career!

UltimateBob on January 30, 2009 at 9:25 PM

Just a trifle about the graphic, shouldn’t the Stimulus package ball be in the Obamanation logo, and not the Iraq War’s colorage which he was against?

eaglewingz08 on January 31, 2009 at 9:58 AM

Also from Rush …

Story #1: Heritage Finds Climate Change Garbage in Porkulus

RUSH: My friends, my other friends at the Heritage Foundation had found something else in the Porkulus bill. Listen to this. This is from http://www.Heritage.org: “President Barack Obama’s trillion dollar stimulus plan,” the Porkulus plan, “has morphed into an appropriations bill devoid of debate. The process forgoes any pretense of targeting unemployed people and resources. For instance, the [Porkulus] bill reads ‘Provided further, that not less than $140,000,000 shall be available for climate data modeling.’ This raises the question of how many unemployed climate modelers are out there pounding the pavement. When presented with that question, last Friday, Pat Michaels, former president of the American Association of State Climatologists stated ‘I don’t know one unemployed modeler.’

DannoJyd on January 31, 2009 at 10:18 AM

I find something interesting about all that. The only time our government has spent a truly extreme amount of money for the sole purpose of technological innovation (the space race)…it succeeded. Now, the conventional wisdom is that government cannot innovate…that it is inefficient and simply cannot produce results. However, the only time we ever truly tested government’s ability to innovate…it worked. NASA’s work increased the body of knowledge in whole fields exponentially in a short amount of time. I wonder, if given a similarly large purse, government could innovate again? I know the canned responses, so spare me the simple “conservative” response. What I want to know is has there ever been another time that we tasked government with a significant public donation, with the specific goal of producing technological (or maybe biomedical) progress? If not, why not do that, and employ 1/2 the country’s scientists for one purpose? Maybe an energy task force, or medical, or aerospace related. Something…somethings gotta be worth more to the public interest than a hodgepodge of pet projects.

ernesto on January 31, 2009 at 6:24 PM

Something…somethings gotta be worth more to the public interest than a hodgepodge of pet projects.

ernesto on January 31, 2009 at 6:24 PM

Alternate energy would be a biggy. Isnt it time some of the futuristic ideas finally come out? This is afterall the future from say 70 years ago. Our cars and homes would be able to run cheaply thus allowing us some money to maybe do our own stimulus. Its still expensive to run our homes and our fuel prices are slowly going back up if you haven’t noticed. Almost like its scripted that way actually.

johnnyU on February 1, 2009 at 7:50 AM