How Much My Stimulus Money Added to the National Debt

Posted by Amanda on April 25, 2011

In the last several years my household has been the beneficiary of a substantial amount of government stimulus money.

First there was the $600 check (each) under President Bush, then we had the Make Work Pay $800 ($400 per person for two years), we received $8,000 free and clear for purchasing our first home, and we also received $1500 for replacing our central A/C and Heater which broke shortly thereafter.

Now we are receiving the social security tax deduction, which is approximately an extra $160 in our pockets each month for the next year.

All in all, our household has gained $14,220 for things we were going to do anyway: work, purchase a home, and replace our A/C.

Right Place, Right Time

You could say that for the majority of this money, we were at the right place at the right time. After all, we had just gotten engaged and it is typical for engaged couples to purchase their first home (+$8,000), and we found ourselves in the unfortunate position of a dead A/C unit in Houston, TX within our first year of homeownership (+$1500).

But I did not write this article to boast about all of our new cash; rather, I am fearful of how much it might hurt in the future as the government figures out how to dig itself out of the hole it is in. The reason we accepted this money was because these programs were all ready passed and if it were not my household receiving the extra money, it would be my neighbor’s.

Stimulus Impacts on Debt

However, I am so anxious about the monetary future of this country that I wanted to research how much each of these stimulus programs has added to our nation’s trillion dollar debt.

Please note: Everyone received different amounts of stimulus over the last several years, so I am going to base this on my own household.

Name of Stimulus Potential Amount Received Estimated Cost of Program
Economic Stimulus Rebate (2008) $600 per individual $152 billion
Make Work Pay (2009 and 2010) $800 per individual over 2 yrs. $116.2 billion over 10 years
Home Buyer Tax Credit (2009-April 2010) $8,000 $22 billion
Cash for Clunkers $3,500-$4,500 $2.9 billion
Cash for Caulkers (2010) Up to $1,500 per household $6 billion
Social Security Tax Reduction (2011) From 6.2% to 4.2% (depends on earnings) $112 billion
  Total Added to the Debt: $511.1 billion

How do you think our country will climb its way out of debt? Have you received a substantial amount of stimulus money over the last several years, and it so, how did you use it?

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Comments to How Much My Stimulus Money Added to the National Debt

  1. I do not have the economic sophistication to do the analysis but besides the debt, I think you might want to look at the benefits to the gross domestic product. Does the increase in the debt offset the good of the stimulus money?

    For myself, I’m less worried about the effect the stimulus money had on the debt than I am about all the wars we seem to be waging right now. They have a financial and human cost.


    • Hello Pamela!

      Thank you for your comment. The reason for the stimulus money was to benefit the economy (more spending); however, I think many people did what I did with it and paid off debt or put it into savings. I guess for us, we were going to do these things anyway. Stimulus money is designed to get people to purchase things (stimulate the economy) that they were not going to purchase otherwise.

      Hopefully it did have an impact!

      Amanda L Grossman

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