Paul Krugman, the Nobel-Prize winning economist and New York Times columnist followed closely by many on the political left like an oracle for all things economic, has consistently criticized President Obama for not pushing hard enough against Republicans on fiscal policy.
In recent days, he's been especially critical of what in liberal circles is being called "the cave", Obama giving in to Republican demands to extend the expiring Bush tax cuts to incomes above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.
Krugman, like many others, hated that Obama appeared so willing to give in on a campaign vow to let the high-end cuts expire.
So what does Krugman think now that there are actual details of the framework worked out by White House and congressional Republican negotiators?
Well, he doesn't hate it as much as it seemed he might. It appears the unemployment insurance extension and 2-percentage point payroll tax reduction makes it go down somewhat easier since he sees those as important additional stimulus.
Like the 2009 stimulus, he says it isn't enough and will fade during the 2012 election year but it's better than nothing.
So, was this worth it? I’d still say no, although it’s better than what I expected over the weekend. It still greatly increases the chances of the Bush tax cuts being made permanent — especially because the front-loading of the stimulative stuff actually worsens Obama’s 2012 electoral prospects.
Overall, enough sweetener has been added to diminish, but not eliminate, the bitterness of the disappointment.