One Million Dollars a Second

by John J. Pitney, Jr.

Here’s another way of calculating the haste with which Congress enacted the $789 billion stimulus bill.  Representative David Obey introduced it on January 26. Final passage took place on February 13.  Minus Sundays, that period was all of 17 days.   Including floor sessions, committee proceedings, and backroom dealing, let’s generously assume that Congress was working on the bill 12 hours a day.  Do the math, and you find that Congress was deliberating on the bill at a rate of just over … one million dollars a second.   So in the time it takes to open a Valentine’s Day card, Congress has blown five million dollars.