Another legitimate question is could the money have been spent faster or more wisely? As was discussed plenty at the time by the administration and the press, the government isn’t just dropping hundreds of billions from helicopters and hoping it gets spent to juice the economy (although it certainly seems that way sometimes! See ProPublica’s sweet Eye on the Stimulus blog). It’s actually hard to spend that amount of money so quickly. So, only $60 billion of the $500 billion in stimulus spending has actually gone out the door so far—12 percent—in the twenty-one weeks since it was signed into law.

What’s going on here, Time? A clue can be found in the sole interview conducted for the piece, dropped in the last paragraph. It’s with a fellow from the far-right American Enterprise Institute:

“I don’t buy the argument that you just have to give the stimulus package more time… By the test they put forward to grade the stimulus, it is failing.”

That’s intellectually dishonest, of course, but I guess an appropriate kicker for this piece.

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.