Slate's Daniel Gross always gets my attention. He argues here that the left and right are wrong about the stimulus and are locked into "a collective failure of imagination" about the direction of the economy. The ability of banks to raise cash in the market to pay back the TARP funds, rising exports, job slowing job losses (and maybe even slight job growth by the time revised November figures are in) are all among the evidence he highlights.
Gross also notes the changing character of stimulus projects coming on line in the new year, for example construction a new tunnel between NYC and NJ employing 1,000 people. The impact of those jobs may be different than the loss prevention in education and government that predominated last year.
However, down here in the trenches things still look pretty grim. There are real consequences for real people as we're reminded in the NY Times today.
I have some concern that the type of rural distressed communities where we spend most of our time might be the last place to feel whatever change is working its way through the system. What do you think?