Saturday, March 21, 2009's latest on the stimulus: How the President and Congress have learned from past recessions.'s "Promise and Peril" article details how lessons from the past have resulted in a timely and effective stimulus package.

Congress and the Obama administration appear to have avoided at least one pitfall of previous economic stimulus packages: sending funds to states too late to help. … But current stimulus architects seem to have learned other lessons from earlier programs, as well, as they now target much of the money for specific programs, set deadlines for spending it and demand that states publicly account for dollars spent to ensure the money is being used wisely and without delay.

... Much of the $200 billion that will flow through state governments under the current stimulus is for specific programs, including education, benefits for the unemployed and transportation. The stimulus also sets out specific deadlines and largely uses existing formulas to compute each state’s share and get the funds out quickly. The law gives priority to projects that can be up and running without delay.

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