The federal government is just like a user-car dealer.
You find a vehicle you can live with, haggle over the price and then shake hands.
But by the time you walk off the lot, you're left scratching your head after paying far more than you expected - in mysterious fees for protective coatings and delivery costs.
In a similar fashion, the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, designed to bolster a foundering economy, was projected to cost about $787 billion through the fiscal year 2019.
As it turns out - surprise, surprise - the stimulus package was about $27 billion, or 3.4 percent, more expensive than anyone expected.
The Congressional Budget Office, the agency that analyzes the financial impact of federal legislation, estimated in August of 2010 that the stimulus would actually add $814 billion to the nation's budget deficits.
The stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama is by far the largest single government spending bill of its kind in our nation's history.
What did it accomplish?
A year and a half later, the CBO report said the policies adopted under the stimulus package:
- Boosted the gross domestic product by between 1.7 percent and 4.5 percent,
- Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points,
- Increased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million, and
- Increased the number of full-time-equivalent jobs by 2.0 million to 4.8 million compared with what would have occurred otherwise.