That is perhaps misstating things. They actually are helping–just not the people we’ve been told they would:
The memo, written by Larry Summers, Carol Browner, and Ron Klain, discuss how stimulus subsidies are going to projects that would have happened anyway, and in which government ends up bearing most of the risk (while, of course, the private companies get all the profit).
We call this corporate welfare, and the stimulus was full of it. The case study in the memo is a GE wind farm in Oregon. The Journal editorial sums it up:
So here we have the government already paying for 65% of a project that doesn’t even meet its normal cost-benefit test, and then the White House has to referee when one of the largest corporations in the world (GE) importunes the Administration to move faster by threatening to find a private financial substitute like any other business. Remind us again why taxpayers should pay for this kind of corporate welfare?
When the government gets involved in the markets (in this case, the market for non-petroleum based energy sources) the things that happen are not good. I am far from a big business detractor, but understand that when big government directly supports big business–as the current federal administration has been doing in so many ways–small business and consumers in general do not see much benefit.