Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, reliable lefty and cheerleader for the Obama Administration (not that there is anything wrong with that....Dionne is a columnist, not a reporter) has some thoughts on the non-stimulus bill, and his analytical abilities seem to have failed him here.
First, let's talk about how the bill has "united Democrats to a degree not seen in decades because most of the programs on which they want to spend are also those deemed by economists to be most likely to jump-start the economy". This is hardly true. For one thing, Democrats are united behind this because virtually every Democratic social goal is advanced through this bill--not that there is actually a coherent Democratic social plan mind you--it is just that the sum total here is equal to the addition of all the constituent pet projects. Next, the statement that economists believe these programs will jump-start the economy is bunk....leading economists are coming out strongly in favor or real stimulus spending through targeted infrastructure investment and real tax relief tied to marginal tax rates and investment. Dionne dismisses these economists as "ideological", but this statement is unfounded (unless the Nobel Prize committee, famously leftist in its ideology, royally screwed up by awarding five of these economists the Nobel Prize).
Dionne goes on further to describe a debate within the "progressives" in the Democratic Party--"Underlying the debate is another progressive worry: that as large as the stimulus proposal is, it may not be big enough to pull the economy out of a steep decline." Could it be that this $819B behemoth of a bill is not big enough to pull the economy out of decline exactly BECAUSE so little of it goes to economic stimulus? No, of course not.