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Interactive: Design Your Own Stimulus Package

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An effective economic recovery package should use government dollars to stimulate the economy quickly and lay the foundation for long-term growth.

Certain actions, such as filling the widening hole in state budgets or increasing the food stamp benefit, stimulate the economy quickly and have a potent job-creating effect. Investments into infrastructure, energy, health care, and education have the dual advantage of creating jobs now and laying a foundation that can be used by the private sector for years to come.

Build Your Own Economic Recovery PackageSelect programs below and adjust the sliding arrows to design your own recovery package to stop the downward spiral and kick start the economy.
  • you’ve spent$0
  • you’ve expanded GDP by0%
  • you’ve created or saved0jobs
  • your cost effectiveness grade 

Tax cuts, unless they are targeted to working Americans who are most likely to spend the money quickly, have a much weaker stimulative effect and create far fewer jobs per dollar than public investment or fiscal relief because people are more likely to save the money or use it to pay off debt rather than spending it. Corporate tax cuts have also been shown to be relatively ineffective as a short-term stimulus.

There is not an unlimited amount of money to be spent on the most effective methods; we can not, for example, spend $850 billion expanding food stamps. A smart package balances fiscal relief with a variety of effective investment options, while steering clear of options that offer little reward for the investment.

This calculator allows you to design your own stimulus package, noting which priorities are most effective at creating jobs, and which are less so. (Dollar amounts are given over two years.)

This product was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Wonk Room.

Source: CAP data analysis from Moody’s Economy, BLS, U.S. Census Bureau, and Christina Romer & Jared Bernestein (2009)

Read what the Center for American Progress has to say about the stimulus:

Brief: Recovery and Reinvestment 101

Infographic: Four Reasons We Can’t Afford Not to Have One

Interactive Map: Recovery Beyond the Beltway

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org