The Obama presidency has mobilized hundreds of thousands of conservatives to clamor against the "big expansion of government spending," but said expansion simply didn't happen—and that's the problem, writes Paul Krugman for the New York Times. The president hasn't created new benefits for the poor, large new infrastructure projects aren't underway, and health care reform has yet to kick in. "Where’s all that spending we keep hearing about? It never happened." So why does everyone think it did?
In part because the right keeps saying so, in part "because the Obama administration hasn’t offered an effective reply" since the very beginning, when many people warned the stimulus wasn't big enough. The administration could have made the case that the stimulus was the most that could have made it through Congress, or admitted it was inadequate but still effective, Krugman writes. Instead, the administration "has insisted throughout that its original plan was just right, a position that has become increasingly awkward as the recovery stalls." A boom in job-creating government spending is being blamed for sapping the economy ... when such a thing was never tried at all.