Friday, September 10, 2010

About Time/I Don't Get It

Couldn't decide which title to use. It is about time, and I don't get why it took so long.

President Obama is announcing a jobs program aimed at rebuilding infrastructure. Seems to me it's what lots of people, myself included, have argued the original stimulus should have been much more about than it was. (In my case, I admit, I don't what the hell I'm talking about. Biology major. But not completely devoid of non-biological thought.) Too little to do much good, I fear; too late to get it passed. Rs will see to that.

Of course there already has been money going to infrastructure: I've driven past (or have been bogged down in) several highway projects decorated with signs proclaiming as much. And I get that not all stimulus should be short-term, and that it's reasonable to have used money for such things as energy projects, and to save state government jobs, teachers and cops. But how short-term would it be to repair and rebuild roads, dams, plants, bridges? We've ignored them for decades; there must be decades of work. And what of the downstream (is it trickle-down?) effects of people having money to spend, buying stuff, which re-opens shuttered businesses, who hire more people, who have money to spend...

The problem -- among many -- with the administration's caving to Rs in the beginning, adding too much in tax cuts to the stimulus and not enough spending (and yes, devoting too much to needed but not top-priority job-creating spending, larding it with more than a lot of pork), is that it's played right into hands of the most cynical. Namely, by sabotaging recovery congressional Rs can now point to the stimulus and say, as John Boner (who's about to give new meaning to the term "nothing rhymes with orange") just did, that it all proves "we can't spend our way to prosperity."

That's like saying the Donner Party proves you can't pack for a trip.

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