Clearly, you have to strike a compromise between timeliness and worthiness. Too few of the people blathering on about the stimulus spending understand that need for compromise and the clever way Rudd and Wayne Swan tackled it
Their stimulus spending has gone through three stages: first, the cash bonuses announced in October last year and in February this year; second, the small "shovel-ready" capital works (on primary schools, road black spots, rail crossings, roof insulation and public housing) announced in February; and, third, the larger and longer-term infrastructure projects (on road, rail, ports and broadband) announced in the budget.
The cash bonuses' main virtues were that they were timely (they could be paid out within a few weeks) and, particularly in the case of the December payments, targeted at the people most likely to spend them because they were needy.
The shovel-ready capital works were timely (work could begin within a few months) as well as producing ongoing benefits to the community. They were targeted in the sense that they were selected to be quick-acting, needed and of social benefit, and also in the sense that there's no risk of the money being saved rather than spent in the first round of payments.
The major infrastructure projects are temporary (no commitment to further spending once the projects are completed) and targeted (in the sense that only the most beneficial projects were selected) but not timely (there will be delays before the projects are commenced and they may not be completed until well after the recession has passed). But, of course, they score highly on worthiness.
Because they came first and were more visible, many people have the impression that most of the stimulus spending has gone on "cash splashes". In truth, cash bonuses account for only $22 billion, a third of the $67 billion, with capital works and infrastructure accounting for most of the rest.