Photo courtesy of Curiousmatic.

Where Did My Stimmie Go?

A breakdown of the federal stimulus money – where it went, who benefited, and which corporations received the most.

In February 2009, at the height of the recession, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aimed at increasing economic activity through government spending.

Dubbed the stimulus, the act has since distributed over $800 billion across the country. Individual government agencies were required to report their stimulus spending weekly, while the recipients were required to report money received and the amount of jobs saved or created quarterly.

Here’s a breakdown of where the money went and who were the biggest recipients.

Categorically

The money was distributed in three different ways, according to the Recovery website:

  • Tax benefits, such as a credit for first-time homebuyers and a credit for using renewable energy, amounted to around 36%, or $290 billion.

  • Entitlement spending, such as Medicare and unemployment benefits, accounted for around 30%, or $250 billion.

  • Contracts, grants, and loans, for education, infrastructure, and other programs, stood for the remaining spending, $254 billion.

Stimulus recipients reported 87,648 jobs saved or created in the first quarter of 2013, although this number is only for the quarter; recipients report new numbers every quarter and the statistic doesn’t accumulate.

The Congressional Budget Office reported in 2011 that an estimated 1.5 million to 3.5 million jobs were saved or created, at an average cost of $228,055 per job at the low end, $586,428 per job at the high end.

Geographically

A highly detailed map on the recovery site shows the geographic locations for contracts, grants and loans. The five top recipients were California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Florida. Their total of more than $78 billion, or 30% of the spending, was distributed among their combined populations of 147 million Americans, or half of the country.

Wyoming, with a population of about 570,000, received the least money – $614,620,866.

By sector

Of the contracts, grants, and loans spending, around 36% went to education, 27% went to infrastructure and transportation, and 11% went to energy. See the full breakdown below.

Numbers from recovery.gov, chart by Curiousmatic. 

The corporate recipients

Among the stimulus recipients there were many big corporations as well. These were the top five recipients:

  • CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company, a division of engineering company CH2M HILL dealing with environmental cleanup. The company is currently involved in cleaning up the nuclear weapons manufacturing site at Hanford, WA. Awarded $1.375 billion. Total CH2M HILL funds received add up to more than $2 billion.

  • Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, a division of the Fluor engineering corporation. SRNS also deals with nuclear cleanup and is currently cleaning up the Savannah nuclear site. Awarded $1.374 billion.

Other major corporations receiving funds included Ford and GM, who received more than $100 million each, Booz Allen Hamilton – the company that employed NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden – who received more than $160 million, AT&T, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and many other defense contractors.

At least 570 of the contracts from the Department of Defense were so-called no-bid contracts, meaning there was no competition among who would receive them, according to the investigative journalism site Pro Publica.

Do you think the stimulus has been distributed fairly? Have you seen signs of it where you live? Tweet @curiousmatic.

Ole Skaar