How to and Not to Structure a Stimulus Package, or Why We’re F@%&^$

Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (via Paul Krugman):

Changes reportedly made last night in the stimulus package would reduce its effectiveness as stimulus. Although the package includes a reasonably designed tax rebate, the two most targeted and economically effective measures under consideration — a temporary extension of unemployment benefits and a temporary boost in food stamp benefits — were zeroed out, apparently at the insistence of House Republican leaders.

The two respected institutions that have rated stimulus options in recent days — the Congressional Budget Office and Moody’s — both give their two highest ratings for effectiveness as stimulus to the two measures that were dropped.