America's economy is headed for a major slowdown. Whether there is a recession (two quarters of negative growth) is less important than the fact that the economy will operate well below its potential, and unemployment will grow. The country needs a stimulus, but anything we do will add to our soaring deficit, so it is important to get as much bang for the buck as possible. The optimal package would contain one fast-acting measure along with others that could lead to increased spending if and only if the economy goes into a steep downturn.
We should begin by strengthening the unemployment insurance system, because money received by the unemployed would be spent immediately.