Summary: You may just be better off giving every unemployed person who has been employed in the last year a poverty wage to sit at home and look for a job, implement the 46.2% of the stimulus that doesn't suck, and give the rest of the stimulus out in income tax cuts for everyone.
The Federal poverty line is 10,830.
The ~800 billion dollar stimulus, optimistically, saves 4 million jobs.
You could hire 4 million people for ~43 billion dollars at poverty level. You could pay them 18 times poverty level at the same level of spending of the stimulus. You don't think you could find 4 million people to do whatever infrastructure or anything else projects you wanted for 188 grand a year?
Of course, this neglects the cost of setting these projects up. Now let's say you take 53.8 percent of that as a fixed cost for implementing the projects for people to do (baseline chosen because that's how much of this stimulus seems to be unstimulating to me, approximately, so if you throw it away on fixed costs, it's the rough equivalent)... You don't think you could find 4 million unemployed people willing to work at every valuable project in the stimulus for 90 grand a year?
If we even have 8 million legitimately unemployed people in this country... you don't think you could find 8 million unemployed people willing to work at every stimulating project in the stimulus for 45 grand a year?
Wouldn't employing an additional 4 million people be worth sacrificing all the porky (perhaps good, but with a high opportunity cost) projects in the stimulus?
I understand there are plenty of logical fallacies in this (firstly, more people are affected by this than just the unemployed, secondly, the 53.8% fixed cost rate is not a perfect logical followthrough, etc) but it should give you an idea of the inefficiency of the stimulus.
Heck, the 46.2 percent of the stimulus that has valuable things INCLUDES all of its own fixed costs, and also the lion's share of job creation in this stimulus as well as a lot of social welfare. Seriously... this package was the best the House Dems could come up with?
As I wrote in the summary, you may just be better off giving every unemployed person who has been employed in the last year a poverty wage to sit at home and look for a job, implement the 46.2% of the stimulus that doesn't suck, and give the rest of the stimulus out in income tax cuts for everyone.