1) The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act cost $787 billion. The CBO says (at 1) that the act added $825 billion to the deficit, but I'll conservatively use the first figure.
2) The CBO estimates (at 2) that the ARRA added between 1.0 and 2.9 million jobs. Again, conservatively, let's use the higher number.
3) Dividing 1) by 2) yields $271,379, which is how much each stimulated job cost. More even than I thought.
4) Don Surber suggests one reason why the ARRA was a bad deal:
In order to break even, 2.9 million jobs would have to pay $200,000 a year to pay back taxpayers their investment in 12 years (that’s at the average of 24.4% in net federal income taxes paid by people who make $200,000 or more).5) Still more simply, in 2009, the median family income was $49,777 (see page 40). Meaning we could have subsidized directly for five years as many people for the price of jobs created by the stimulus package. Remember, the White House says the stimulus created only "temporary" jobs (see Executive Summary) probably lasting far less than five years.
Conclusion: The stimulus was wasteful and inefficient. Any questions?