Nobody is arguing that the stimulus money did absolutely nothing. People’s very justifiable grievances are along the lines of effectiveness. Do you think you could save one job if you spent $200,000? Of course!! A bill that assigns $700 Billion to ‘save jobs’ and only mitigates the unemployment spike by 1%?? That seems crazy to me. Government run programs run productivity and efficiency into the ground. Not to mention that government ‘intervention’ is what got us into this mess in the first place. In addition to this, there remains the issue of steady state vs. temporary dependence on the government. Surely we can agree that the best steady state condition is not to conitnue paying the government more money so they can give it to your neighbor? Steady state should be along the lines of a self sustaining business models independent of the government. Everybody knows that when we see a spike in government spending, rarely does that spending return to its pre-spike levels. Just look at the world history of the federal income tax.
The governments role should be to facilitate free markets that are self correcting. For example, to discourage the recent credit crisis (which is still going on), they could have published accurate information about what is really going on – which is one main reason people invest in U.S. markets – transparency. The government could have published the real leverage ratio for Bear Stearns, instead of the one they self report. They could have published the real value of the real estate collateral used in securing credit. Underwriting mortgage risk is basically a commodity. In other words, the government could have helped make things more transparent. The truth is that we are seeing more and more ‘ends justify the means’ mentalities in Washington, and people with their own agendas that they arrogantly assume should be executed behind closed doors because ‘they know better’.