Here are some of the things I have heard over the last two weeks:
1. FDR's stimulus spending in the nineteen thirties slowed recovery down. Only when war came in 1939 did the North American and world economies recover from the Great Depression.
2. FDR's stimulus spending was doing a marvellous job, but then his government got panicky and returned to "fiscal discipline". When this happened, the recovery stalled, and only when war came in 1939 did the North American and world economies recover from the Great Depression.
3. Infrastructure spending has a low multiplier effect (less than 1, according to some accounts). Only tax cuts stimulate the economy.
4. Infrastructure spending has a much higher multiplier than tax cuts. Tax cuts only ensure that the government will borrow forever, going deeper and deeper into debt.
5. It is highway robbery for bonuses to be paid to executives when the Government is bailing out their corporations.
6. Bonuses are a normal cost of doing business effectively: not to pay them has the consequence that Government bailout money is handled by incompetent people.
I guess I tend to believe 2, 4, and 5. But I have no better reason to do so than that I want to. I am hoping that Timothy Geithner has better reasons for believing these same propositions.