What did $800 billion REALLY buy the country?

Political Punch

The Republican National Convention starts this week and one of the big topics we will hear about, likely in a mocking sense, is the stimulus. And whatever you think you know about the stimulus, think again. A new book, 'The New New Deal: The Story of Change in the Obama Era' from Time Magazine's Michael Grunwald, challenges to take a closer look.

Grunwald's started digging into the stimulus whilst he was reporting on energy for Time.

"I heard that there was $90 billion in this thing for clean energy, and we had been spending maybe a few billion dollars a year," said Grunwald. "Wind, energy efficiency, the smart grid, cleaner coals, electric vehicles, advanced bio fuels, the factories to make all of that green stuff in the United States -- I mean this was a complete game changer for the renewable energy industry. So I said, 'That's weird,' and I knew this thing was $800 billion, so what else is in it?"

The bottom line and the theme of Grunwald's book is that this wasn't just $787 billion dollars of stimulus to get the economy going through tax cuts and investments and infrastructure -- President Barack Obama was trying to reinvent the economy with this stimulus.

A lot of Obama's campaign agenda was in the Recovery Act, says Grunwald. "And really, the story of how the Recovery Act came to be is kind of a microcosm for the Obama era."

But what about Solyndra? And in the end, did the stimulus work? And why were Republicans opposed to the stimulus before it was even on the table? Check out this week's Political Punch for some answers.

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