That's a screen-grab from my appearance last night on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. (They haven't posted the video yet, but here's a transcript and here's the audio.)
I was on a panel of four business reporters and editor discussing the impact the stimulus bill would have on people in different parts of the country. Last week, I posted about my reservations about how much the bill would do for the average Joe, but after listening to my colleagues, I gained a new perspective. The goal of the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress really is less about directly helping you and I (i.e., Bush's stimulus checks of a few years ago) than it is about jump-starting the economy by handing states money for projects, with the hope that the rising tide of public spending will lift all boats.
Call me Republican here (though I'm bewildered at the GOP accusing anyone of spending too much public money after the deficit the Bush administration left) but I personally would like to have seen much more aid to struggling workers and consumers than I would government spending. The $400 per person, $800 per couple tax break just won't be enough to make people spend more when they're worried about their jobs (hell, I don't even qualify). The $8,000 home buyer tax credit might encourage some buyers, but is almost half what the homebuilding industry wanted.
One thing is clear: the government will have to spend MORE money after TARP and this round of spending to get things going again. There will be no magic bullet.