The NIH budget, $30Billion in round numbers, runs something on the order of $100 per taxpayer.
One five year R01 is about $2M, including overhead. This provides about 1.5-2 jobs on the direct science front. Also small fractions of the effort of a number of administrative and support staff (from housecleaning to security to animal care staff....). I don't know how this compares with other stimulus proposals. But I do know that if I land a grant, I need to create a job and fill it. Or at the very least I avoid laying someone off. Yes, during this economic downturn the award of NIH grants for which I am the PI has resulted in the employment of the previously unemployed.
If one wanted to fund salary lines directly through fellowships, $58Million would buy about 1,000 junior scientists. Grad students or nondegreeseeking techs, if that was your desire.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a makework government program which happened to leave a durable legacy. I was just enjoying some CCC built trails and park facilities this past summer, as it happens.
The impact of scientific advance is likely to leave an even more durable public legacy. That however is bonus. The real focus should be on employing people.
Increasing the NIH budget can help with that.
for any new to this blog, see Disclaimer. I am an interested party. But then so are the denizen's of Wall Street, GM line workers, renewable energy folks and anyone else advocating for their business to enjoy federal stimulus.