Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, widely considered a major contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, said it would be "ludicrous" to claim that the stimulus is "what pivoted" the economy, according to Bloomberg. He's absolutely right! With barely 15 percent of the $787 billion bill spent, that would be a bold claim indeed. I'd like to know who's making it.
It's one thing to say that the stimulus is helping -- even Pawlenty's economic development director is saying that. It's quite another to argue that, out of more than $2 trillion spent on bailing out our financial system, auto system, states and so on, the key fulcrum was $81 billion of stimulus spending. Arguing that four percent of the administration's economic rescue plan didn't single-handedly "pivot" the economy is setting up a pretty flimsy strawman. It also doesn't obviate a stimulus package that will spend the most of its money in the next twelve to fifteen months.