Good, but not good enough
Paul Krugman is not impressed (pdf) with the country's economic recovery:
Despite the praise being handed out to those who helped us avoid the worst, we are not handling the crisis well: fiscal stimulus has been inadequate, financial support has contained the damage but not restored a healthy banking system. All indications are that we’re going to have seriously depressed output for years to come. It’s what I feared/predicted in that 2001 paper: “[I]ntellectually consistent solutions to a domestic financial crisis of this type, like solutions to a third-generation currency crisis, are likely to seem too radical to be implemented in practice. And partial measures are likely to fail.”
That's my sense, as well. Indeed, a lot of the people who praise the administration's work avoiding a total collapse actually agree with the premises of Krugman's argument. The administration itself, for instance, knew the stimulus to be too small even when they though we were facing a smaller recession.
As it is, Republicans have an electoral incentive to say things are much worse than they actually are, and the economic achievements are much smaller than they've actually been. The administration and associated elected Democrats have an incentive to overstate the adequacy of the rescue efforts, and for reasons I don't totally understand, are reticent to say more is needed but they aren't able to pass further legislation through a polarized Congress. That's left us with an argument between people saying we've pretty much done enough and people saying everything we've done is wrong, when the correct answer is probably that we've done some good things, and need to do more of them.
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