In this post I discussed a how a few measures people use for talking about stimulus and austerity. While I think there are definite risks for some of the things I pointed out, to a large degree it is my own preferences around clear exposition more than something that is actually "wrong".
One thing I didn't like was expressing things as a percent of GDP. That's fine for talking about a lot of things, but doesn't work as well when we're talking about the business cycle because both the denominator and the numerator are changing (and even worse - it's precisely the relationship between the two that we're usually interested in!). You can get some perverse results from that.
One thing I've never seen before - but should work pretty well - is measuring things like governmenet spending as a percent of potential GDP. That should no give you any perverse results and should be more easily interpreted.
Krugman has an example here.
Krugman on Walmart and the Minimum Wage
53 minutes ago