Why Stimulus Gets a Bad Rap

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2009 10:04 AM CDT
People take part in a tax day protest at the Capitol in Nashville, Tenn., Wednesday, April 15, 2009.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

(Newser) – The Democrats’ $787 billion stimulus package is less popular than ever—even though it’s already working, writes David Wessel for the Wall Street Journal. The case against it is weak: Fed rate cuts hadn’t slowed the recession, already a year-old at that point, making the stimulus an appropriate move. Now the economy is improving, yet 43% of poll respondents say it was a bad idea, compared to just 27% who thought so in January.

“Marketing, it turns out, matters,” he writes. Obama wanted the bill passed quickly, so he let Congress work out the details, making it look like old-fashioned Democratic profligacy. “To the public, this is more Nancy Pelosi’s stimulus than Barack Obama’s.” Democrats also caught criticism for loading the bill with slow-acting measures, like spending on education and infrastructure—something that now seems welcome. Climbing out of this recession will be a slow process, Wessel concludes, and sustained stimulus will help.