If this description is correct, the stimulus bill will be a real disappointment. As I pointed out in an earlier post, economic theory — Milton Friedman’s theory! — suggests that if we want stimulus funds spent, they should go to people in temporary economic difficulty who are likely to be liquidity-constrained. But it appears that most of the measures that would do that — benefits to the unemployed, food stamps, aid to state and local governments — are being bargained away. Even the tax credit is apparently not fully refundable, so those who need it most, and are most likely to spend it, won’t get the full amount.

You can blame the Bush administration, whose hostility to helping those in need is now getting in the way of good economic policy. But I’m also disappointed with the Democratic leadership, for not standing up more forcefully.