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Eyes & Ears: Are you stimulus savvy? A Missouri senator wants to know

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Seems frustration with the outlay of federal tax dollars is not subsiding any time soon. Doesn't matter if you're talking about a bailout or a stimulus, everybody's got an opinion about where the money is going. Can't imagine why. What's so difficult about tracking hundreds of billions in government coin?

Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill wants Missourians to know more, perhaps before they gripe more. Her office recently released a quiz to test citizens' knowledge of the government's widespread economic recovery plans, full of TARP, ARRA and other alphabet soup flavors. Of course, she slipped in some slight political propaganda. To her credit, the quiz is coupled with a handy economic recovery guide and both were used earlier this month during an 11-stop statewide tour discussing the recovery efforts.

So in the effort of keeping Springfield Business Journal readers informed (and perhaps at the risk of insulting the intelligence of some), I ask you to test your wits about the Troubled Assets Relief Program (did you know it has two parts?) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Below are the 10 questions the senator proposed. Rather take the quiz online? Go to www.mccaskill.senate.gov/issues/economicrecoveryquiz.cfm. The online version will score you upon completion, but here's the summary for those print pollsters: Get all 10 right, and you're a policy wonk; five right, you're a student; and less than that, maybe you should try again. The answers will follow.

Sharpen your pencils, the test is about to begin:

1. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is commonly referred to by which of the following nicknames? a) Bailout b) Appropriations c) Stimulus d) Budget.

2. True or False: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contained an earmark for a project that would build a light rail system from Disneyland to Las Vegas.

3. What is the percentage of American families who will receive a tax cut under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act? a) 15% b) 25% c) 72% d) 95%

4. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides which of the following tax cuts or benefits? a) $8,000 tax credit for first time homebuyers b) $250 to Social Security recipients and disabled veterans c) $2,500 in tax relief for the American Opportunity Tax Credit for higher education to 74,000 families d) $400 in tax refunds for individuals and $800 for married couples through The Making Work Pay Tax Credit e) All of the above

5. True or False: The Fiscal Year 2010 Budget included over 8,000 earmarks.

6. Of the five spending and budget bills passed in the Senate in the last six months, which did Sen. McCaskill not support due to the increase in spending and high number of earmarks? a) Troubled Asset Relief Program b) Omnibus Appropriations Bill c) The Budget for Fiscal Year 2010 d) American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

7. The Troubled Asset Relief Program is commonly referred to by which of the following nicknames? a) Budget b) Appropriations c) Bailout d) Stimulus

8. The investment made to stabilize the financial markets through the Troubled Asset Relief Program would require financial institutions who took advantage of the program, like AIG, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America, to do what? a) The financial institutions would all have to pay back the investment with interest. b) The banks would have to invest the money in the stock market. c) The bank executives would have to start doing community service. d) The CEOs would have to testify before a congressional hearing.

9. True or False: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contained an earmark to protect a wetlands mouse in San Francisco.

10. True or False: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus, contained billions of dollars in earmarks.

[[In-content Ad]]Answers: 1. c) 2. False 3. d) 4. e) 5. False 6. b) 7. c) 8. a) 9. False 10. False.

Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson can be reached at eolson@sbj.net.

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