"Attacks on President Obama’s "crony capitalism" are a major theme of Mitt Romney’s campaign. And the stimulus typically figures prominently in these attacks. As Romney and his allies tell is, the Recovery Act was full of shady, wasteful giveaways to the administration’s friends and benefactors. 

This argument is probably effective. Most Americans have no problem believing government programs are a boondoggle. The argument is also untrue—as in, the very opposite of true. Federal auditors watching over the Recovery Act have documented just $7.2 million in fraud, or about .001 percent of the $800 billion the federal government has distributed through the program. That’s astonishingly low. And that’s not because the auditors haven’t been looking.”

- Jonathan Cohn, Crony Capitalism, Minus the Cronies

Photo courtesy of Dead Homer Society

Can we say that the economy is in recovery yet?

"This morning’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the economy added 227,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate did not change: It’s still 8.3 percent. But that is not surprising and that is not necessarily bad news.”

- Jonathan Cohn, New Jobs Report: Can We Say “Recovery” Yet?

A recovery or another headfake?

Is this an economic recovery actually worthy of its name?

"There have certainly been several headfakes before (remember ‘green shoots’ and ‘Recovery Summer’), but, to borrow a dangerous phrase, this time might be different. Economic data has surprised on the upside for the past few months, and the December jobs report continued this positive trend. The headline unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent on 200,000 net jobs added in the month—which, while not a fast enough pace to bring down unemployment to pre-recession levels till the mid 2020s, still represents a substantial acceleration over the past year."

- Matt O’Brien, “A Recovery, Or Another Headfake?

Also, be sure to check out TNR Senior Editor Timothy Noah’s blog, where he takes on the odd contention that all white working class voters are Republican.

Photo courtesy of Alaska in Pictures.

Have Republicans lost their economic marbles?

"The most important thing to understand about the Republican jobs agenda is that it’s not really a jobs agenda. That sounds simplistic and harsh, but I think it’s true, at least if you buy into the mainstream economic consensus."

- Jonathan Cohn, “The GOP’s Uncertainty Canard”

Read more of Jonathan Cohn’s breakdown of the GOP jobs agenda, here

Courtesy of the Economic Policy Institute