It's been a year since Congress passed a stimulus bill that will eventually dole out $787 billion in taxpayer money to lucky recipients across the country.

In California, stimulus money has been used to pay the salaries of cops, provide rental assistance to residents of Santa Monica, and subsidize homeowners who weatherize their homes. Were those good investments?

The University of California at Irvine was awarded $42 million in stimulus money to fund different research projects and, in one case, $2 million to "stimulate student interest in mathematics and computer science." Was that a good use of scarce public dollars?

To learn more,'s Paul Feine spoke with UC-Irvine economist Richard McKenzie who, a year ago, predicted that the stimulus package wouldn't work.

McKenzie is the author of Why Popcorn Costs So Much at the Movies: And other Pricing Puzzles.

Shot by Paul Feine and Alex Manning; edited by Paul Feine.

Approximately 7.30 minutes.

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And check out Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey: How to fix the "Mistake on The Lake" and other once-great American cities, an original six-part documentary series.