Although most people think of the stimulus program as being aimed at building bridges and roads, just less than $100 million of it was set aside for infrastructure spending. Another $40 billion was tagged for upgrading the nation's energy grid.
Despite the claim that the government would be able to spend money on "shovel ready" projects, most of the money allocated to infrastructure has yet to be spent. There simply weren't that many construction programs ready to go. Much of the energy spending is still in the early planning stages. Local governments are bidding out projects and taking time to figure out which ones are the most worthy.
In the end, all of this planning may result in the best use of the government's money, but it is not likely to stimulate the economy, at least not anytime soon. "Spending money researching and developing green energy might be a good investment, but it is not good stimulus," says Reinhart of the American Enterprise Institute.