Work ... fiscal stimulus that is. Many studies have been released that claim the fiscal stimulus programs that have been pursued in the US since 2008 have not worked. I tend to side with those studies because of my priors. But there are alternative studies, and some claim that the stimulus has indeed worked. Perhaps the reasoned debate over this should be carried on in a reasonable fashion. See this Washington Post blog post and the linked to studies that argue that stimulus has in fact worked.
If you are a critic of fiscal stimulus programs, then what is your criticisms of these studies? What has been omitted in the analysis that leads them to conclude it works, while you still insist it didn't work? Assume for sake of argument you have no ideological priors about "big government", and you simply want to look at the full array of costs and benefits of the programs pursued, what would your argument be?
This by the way is connected, not in the negative way that some may want to imply, is the reason I have used the old phraseology of the "economics of illusion". And in the context that I have used this phrase it is about short-run and long-run, and in particular about fiscal policy and the shifting of the burden intergenerationally. Starting in 2008, I stressed the need for analysts to re-read Hayek's Tiger by the Tail and Buchanan and Wagner's Democracy in Deficit. I do think there are issues associated with crowding out, and even deeper issues associated with who gets the benefits of government stimulus programs (hint: they don't pass the generality norm rule for government policy), but the bigger issue is the long-run costs.
Since 2008, we have engaged in "triage economics", and while the medicine applied may have provided some short-term relief, the long-run costs need to be taken into account. This I fear, they often are not. If you trade-off long-run growth for short-run relief, then you may very well be engaged in the sort of "fiscal child abuse" (to use Kotlikoff's phrase) and the embracing of the very "juggling tricks" that Adam Smith warned about so long ago as the natural proclivity of governments ancient as well as modern. Stressing these points in economic analysis is not ideological, it is however recognizing that one must always put the political into political economy if you want to have a full analysis of the problem under examination.
Public choice is not a footnote to serious economic analysis, it must be at the core of any analysis that seeks to understand economic policy decisions and consequences. Economic policy, as Miltion Friedman stressed in his review of Abba Lerner's Economics of Control, does not take place in a vacuum, and it is not designed by Edwin Cannan's Inca God who is omniscient, benevolent and omnipotent. Public policy emerges out of the political machinations of real life and blood human beings (fallible yet capable as they are) who interact with each other in real institutional environments (historically contingent as they are). This process of political decision making has costs and benefits that must be accounted for if an analysis of something like fiscal stimulus is going to strive to be complete.
Anyway, I think it is important for a reasoned debate in economics that individuals who are engaged in this debate serious be able to do what is done in the blog post linked above. Understand the studies, not just their conclusion, but the way the authors reached their conclusion and what might be potential problems with their reasoning.