Shortly after shining his journalistic spotlight on Marx, Peter Coy offered Bloomberg Businessweek readers this bit of Keynesian “wisdom”:

President Obama’s $447 billion American Jobs Act is all about inspiring confidence in an economy that sorely lacks it. Like the last economic stimulus—and that’s what it is, even if politicians can’t bear to invoke the word—this one is intended to awaken the nation’s animal spirits so businesses invest, consumers spend, and the economy once again finds momentum in a virtuous cycle.

The trouble is that many Democrats think the plan isn’t big enough to make a difference, while many Republicans see it as unaffordably big. These perceptions about the government’s ability to solve problems matter greatly.

Of course, there is another perception, one which matches reality: a stimulus program based on government spending cannot work.