Should-Read: This by he wise Ben Friedman seems to me to be partly wrong. It was a failure of politics, but a failure of politics enabled by what Paul Romer calls post-real-macroeconomics:

Ben Friedman: HAS ECONOMICS FAILED US?: The Search for New Assumptions: “Democracy doesn’t always deliver what the technical experts recommend…http://democracyjournal.org/magazine/45/the-search-for-new-assumptions/

…and the package that became law was presumably the best on which Congress and the President could agree. And if it wasn’t, the failing was a matter of politics, not economics…