4. Unlike the New Deal, the stimulus will leave no legacy.
Nostalgic liberals often complain that the stimulus lacks iconic Hoover Dams and Skyline Drives. In fact, it’s creating its own icons: zero-energy border stations, state-of-the-art battery factories, some of the world’s largest wind farms and half a dozen of the largest solar farms. But its main legacy, like the New Deal’s, will be change.
The stimulus was the biggest and most transformative energy bill in history, pouring an astonishing $90 billion into record expansions of every imaginable form of clean energy, from renewables to electric vehicles. It included $27 billion to computerize health care. Its Race to the Top was a landmark in education reform. Itshigh-speed rail program was the most ambitious transportation initiative since the interstates. It extended high-speed Internet to underserved communities, a modern twist on the New Deal’s rural electrification, and modernized the New Deal-era unemployment insurance system. And much more.