What is infrastructure?
Some people seem to have a working definition that limits to highways and bridges. Others would expand it to include anything built of concrete and steel. Well that is a little too narrow a view. Instead we should include pretty much all public capital goods in that definition. So in addition to highways and bridges we would add railways and rail cars, earthen dams and levees, federal buildings and schools, power and communication towers and lines, in short anything whose utility is measured in decades rather than just a few years. And I would include in that repairs and rehabilitation that extend the useable life of existing capital goods. If we go through the stimulus package with that definition in mind how much infrastructure is actually being created?
But before answering that we need to figure out our baseline. Up to now I have generally been scoring programs as a percentage of the overall bill. But in fact the bill breaks out into three pieces: Division A Appropriations, Division B Direct Spending, and Division B Tax Effects.
Relatively few critics of the bill are singling out Div B spending and many of them support expanding Div B tax cuts so really all of the focus of the budget hawks is on Div A. So when we single out a certain line item for better or worse we are talking about some percentage of $365 billion. With that in mind I all going to start splitting out the spending by title below the fold. I won’t get to everything today. Consider this a work in process. (And please feel free to double check my work. I am just going by the CBO Estimates which are not in full detail. Detailed numbers would be found in the Senate Bill )
Title 1 $21.6 billion Agriculture, Rural Development $3.8 billion
Title 2 $21 billion Commerce, Justice, Science $9 billion
Title 3 $3.7 billion Defense $3.4 billion
Title 4 $53.8 billion Energy and Water $35.4 billion (minimum)
Title 5 $10.7 billion Financial Services and Government $9 billion
Title 6 $5.1 billion Homeland Security (will need to take a look at the bill language, but about a fourth for construction at border crossings, most of the rest for detection equipment)
Title 7 $11.6 billion Interior and Environment $10+ billion
Title 8 $89.3 billion Labor, HHS, Education $20+ billion
Title 9 $20 million Legislative Branch $0
Title 10 $7.4 billion Military and Veterans $6.7 billion
Title 11 $1 billion State Department $1 billion
Title 12 $60.6 billion Transportation and HUD $45 billion
Title 13 $79 billion State Stabilization ($??-states will decide)
Total ~$145 billion out of $365 billion is clearly slated for Infrastructure as defined. A detailed scrubbing of the bill would likely turn up some more. And if we broke out direct job programs (Census, firefighters) and added in dollars for research, particularly for energy efficiency it would total much more.