But Gross is mostly dead-on here. When John Boehner can get by with saying something like “you can’t spend $800 billion of taxpayer money and not create jobs when you say that’s what the goal was,” it’s good for the press to point out that you can’t spend $800 billion of taxpayer money and not create jobs if you haven’t, you know, spent but a fraction of that $800 billion of taxpayer money yet.

Reporters should keep that in mind as they cover this multi-year story. When the stimulus bill was passed, its proponents were planning for a long, hard economic slog. They got that part right.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.