Jim Surowiecki, writing for the New Yorker, says that the Obama stimulus package worked surprisingly well. Yet, Surowiecki notes, Obama gets little credit for it because he did the economically, rather than politically, expedient thing. Rather than lump-sum tax rebates, which consumers tend to horde, he gave taxpayers a small break in every paycheck, which they spent—stimulating the economy. By giving money to the states to retain jobs, rather than create new ones, he maintained stability and reduced unemployment.
But both of these got Obama little credit with voters who, against pretty clear evidence, believe that the president has bungled the economy. Surowiecki concludes, “When Rome is burning, trying to put out the fire may cost you more than just sitting by and fiddling." Read the full article.