Michael Grunwald: Everything people think they know about the stimulus is wrong. It was called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and it did produce a short-term recovery. We dropped 8.9 percent of GDP in Q4 2008. We lost 800,000 jobs in January 2009. We passed the stimulus. And then the next quarter we saw the biggest jobs improvement in 30 years.
The long-term reinvestment part is working. It spent $90 billion for clean energy when we were spending just a few billion a year. It’s doubled renewable energy. It’s started an electric battery industry from scratch. It jump-started the smart grid. It’s bringing our pen-and-paper medical system into the digital age. It’s got Race to the Top which is the biggest education program in decades. It’s got the biggest middle-class tax cuts since the Reagan era. It prevented seven million people from falling behind the poverty line.