According to Brad Delong, the best judgment at the time was that a trillion dollar stimulus would be about right — though new information makes that seem too low now. Everyone knew that a trillion would be too much for Congress, so what they asked for was 800 million. What they actually got was 600 million.
Rahm seems like a tough guy, but only when he’s talking to liberals. Otherwise he’s just like any other Democrat.
Democrats always start the bidding with their final offer. They’re scientists of politics, after all, and they know that the future is written (as it says the the Koran) and that “negotiations” are epiphenomenal and illusory. That’s what game theory is for — why waste time playing games when science can tell you what the final score will be?
But the vulgar, stupid, brutish Republicans keep on fighting, wrongly believing that you can accomplish something that way. Bad Republicans!