Economist: 'The stimulus substituted for thinking'

A better approach would have improved the country’s infrastructure and moved the public transportation system into the 21st century, Sachs contends.

“Our rail is falling farther and farther behind what China or Spain or Japan or other countries are doing with high-speed rail,” he said.

Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board member Laura D’Andrea Tyson echoed a similar sentiment on ABC’s "This Week."

“I think we should continue to look at major spending on infrastructure projects,” she said, but added, “We do have a payroll tax credit that has been offered to companies that bring on new unemployed workers into the workforce. I think we should continue that.”

Sachs told CNN that extensions in tax relief add to the deficit without addressing the long-term issues facing the country.

“We need a long-term strategy based around investment rather than consumption,” he said, adding that without a tactical shift, the U.S. could succumb to the deficit crisis plaguing parts of Europe.

“When is that going to happen with us? We don’t know; but it could happen at any time,” he said, adding, “In the U.K., in Spain, in Portugal, in Greece, in Ireland, they hit the wall. They had to take truly very harsh and tough measures in response to the loss of confidence. And I think we’re, in any event, digging ourselves into a very, very deep hole.”