The Great Recession is cooling off, but Americans will feel the heat for a while—because recovery is tricky this time, Daniel Gross writes in Newsweek. Another economic bubble inflated by consumption would be a mere Band-Aid. That's why President Obama is trying to create a four-sided "smart economy" based on health care, broadband, infrastructure, and green energy. But gauging short-term success is difficult.
The feds have pumped billions of dollars into much-needed alternative energy, admittedly not a quick unemployment fix (consider the staff size on a wind farm). Health reform will save money through negotiating power and efficiencies, but could cost $1 trillion over 10 years. So let's think long-term, Gross urges. "Declaring the stimulus a failure five months after its passage is a little like calling the results of a marathon at the second-mile marker."