Obama's stimulus was, in my opinion, a HUGE waste of borrowed money. It served to get him re-elected and curry favor, sure, but workforce participation rates are the lowest they've been since the mid '70's. I know, I know---Liberals will claim it would have been far worse if he hadn't done it. Impossible to prove or disprove----I could claim if we hadn't invaded Iraq we'd all be dead from nuclear Armageddon, too.
Now consider Kennedy's Apollo program (which, by the way, cost less than Obama's 'stimulus' even when adjusted for inflation) It, too, was a massive government pork project and there was lots of backscratching and maneuvering---Huntsville, Cape Canaveral, Houston, Long Beach---all got their slice of the pie....But it was a challenge. It was something other than war we could all rally behind, take national pride in. I believe Apollo 11 was the single greatest moment of American pride ever.
New technologies were spun off from it. New materials were formed. The whole while, there were some saying it was a waste of money while there was still poverty in the nation---not realizing it was a very responsible way to address poverty.
Obama's stimulus handed cash to failing 'green' companies, that failed anyway, after kicking back lots of the funds to election campaigns. The money was borrowed, now it's gone, with nothing to show for it but higher debt.
Instead of handing out cash, that money would have been better spent by offering lucrative government contracts to the first company that could produce a better solar cell or other renewable energy source. If a tiny percentage of 'stimulus' cash went into streamlining domestic oil production and refinement, with an emphasis on lowering emissions, we would be seeing a return on our investment soon if not already.
Instead of bailing out GM, a government request for proposals for competitive contracts would have rewarded the best company. Part of the necessary cycle a recession brings is to cut out the deadwood. Companies fail, people innovate, move on---should we subsidize buggy whip manufacturing companies just so the employees can feed their families? Or, once there's no more market for buggy whips, do we let them go?
In a nutshell, viable companies don't need bailouts because they are viable. If there's some global influence that challenges a company, and that company is necessary for national security, help it through contracts, not handouts.