Math whizzes weigh in stimulus package - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Math whizzes weigh in stimulus package

By Jamie Grey

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Now that the senate has passed its version of the "stimulus bill" -- which includes more than $838 billion, everyone wants to know -- is the spending going to turn the economy around?

As the stimulus bill was taking shape last fall -- several Hempstead High School students took a 36-hour long crack at changing the economy in a math modeling challenge.

"We had to create a model based on certain things about the economy that we changed, like government spending and tax rates and what not, and see how that would affect the national debt in coming years," said Hemsptead student, Nick Schickel.

The students compared the Bush administration's spending and taxes with President Obama's campaign promises. Their solution involved rearranging government spending -- and higher taxes for the wealthy and tax breaks for low income earners.

"It's not refined a whole lot, but if they looked at it, they could us pieces of what we came up with," said Schickel.

Now -- looking at the senate's stimulus plan -- they agree with the breakdown.

"When people are in bad situations and are losing their jobs, they don't have the money to spend to go out and reboot the economy to get it pumped up and going again. This is the point where the government needs to step in with these building projects, and infrastructure projects and other energy projects to put money back in the economy," said student, Kathleen White.

But after intense research -- these students say turning the economy around is going to be tough no matter what.

"I think that would be really hard to figure out because there's so many different aspects to it that you'd have to.  I think it's pretty impossible to find a perfect answer," said student Mafaza Khan.

"After we were doing research for like 24 hours total during the activity.  It's just so hard! I don't know if we'll ever be able to find a solution to it or not," said student, Louis Sievers.

Now the final stretch for the stimulus bill -- the house and senate must reconcile their two versions to come up with a final draft. President Obama says he hopes to see a bill on his desk by this weekend.

Online reporter: Jamie Grey

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