Shouldn't any policy have to be sustainable?
As Obama pushes for a stimulus package, it seems to me that the biggest concern is that we'll spend trillions - literally - on economic programs that simply defers the inevitable. Getting Americans to spend money we don't have to buy things we cannot afford is not a novel solution to our economic problems. I might even suggest that such an approach has helped to put us into this recession.
I love the idea of approaching alternative energy development as if it were NASA or the Cold War. This is great because it not only could create employment and help to stimulate the economy but it is a solution that can become sustainable - creating an entirely new industry that becomes not just self-financing but something that could more than pay back any investments made today.
I do not like the idea of subsidizing home purchases. Already home prices are too high and the struggle to finance these inflated prices helped to create the mortgage crisis that dominoed into the financial crisis. Home prices that are such a huge multiple of incomes are simply not sustainable and stimulating the housing market seems to me just a distortion of a natural equilibrium.
Some of the items in the stimulus package could help to create a shift. Others are simply sending good money after bad.
For me, the filter that ought to be applied to every item in this stimulus bill is this: will it help to create jobs and will those jobs eventually lead to something sustainable? This is the difference between using credit for shopping and using it to start a small business.
This is a great opportunity to create new industries, technologies, and products. It might be worth looking at this trillion dollar spending package as something transformative, something to position us for 2015 rather than an attempt to just get us back to 2006.