Americans debated the merits of fiscal stimulus a lot—in particular how big it should be. But it's important not to lose the forest for the trees when engineering an economic recovery, David Brooks writes for the New York Times. Consider Germany, which had a much smaller stimulus and is "recovering nicely." The US, on the other hand, "tried big, but is emerging slowly."
That doesn't mean that a smaller stimulus is always better, but it does show that size isn't everything. "The economy can’t be played like a piano—press a fiscal key here and the right job creation notes come out over there. Instead, economic management is more like parenting," writes Brooks. "If you instill good values and create a secure climate then, through some mysterious process you will never understand, things will probably end well." And right now, Germany is doing a better job getting the fundamentals right.