So there's this guy who writes a column twice a week, and he's got some economic advice for the next President. Now, I don't know a lot about economics myself, but I think this fellow might--he just won some big prize.
In other words, there’s not much Ben Bernanke can do for the economy. He can and should cut interest rates even more — but nobody expects this to do more than provide a slight economic boost.It's Krugman, of course, and seeing as he's been right about the danger this economy has been facing for the last 8 years, I'd say he deserves the benefit of the doubt here.
On the other hand, there’s a lot the federal government can do for the economy. It can provide extended benefits to the unemployed, which will both help distressed families cope and put money in the hands of people likely to spend it. It can provide emergency aid to state and local governments, so that they aren’t forced into steep spending cuts that both degrade public services and destroy jobs. It can buy up mortgages (but not at face value, as John McCain has proposed) and restructure the terms to help families stay in their homes.
And this is also a good time to engage in some serious infrastructure spending, which the country badly needs in any case. The usual argument against public works as economic stimulus is that they take too long: by the time you get around to repairing that bridge and upgrading that rail line, the slump is over and the stimulus isn’t needed. Well, that argument has no force now, since the chances that this slump will be over anytime soon are virtually nil. So let’s get those projects rolling.
I'd like to see some infrastructure spending tied into some green jobs. Down here in Florida, we could use a little help in upgrading our public transportation system, and a high speed rail network that would connect the major cities would do a lot for our local economy. Orlando sits right in the middle and could serve as a hub for trains going to either coast, and coastal lines could make a trip from Miami to Jacksonville, with stops along the way, a real breeze. Maybe we could even take a look at rebuilding the Overseas Railroad--tourism to the Keys would go through the roof. And the best part for locals would be that we could use it to commute and relieve some of the stress on an overburdened interstate system. It's coming in the long run anyway--urban sprawl is already too wasteful when it comes to natural resources, from petroleum to water, not to mention the crazy carbon emissions we produce. That would be a proactive move for everyone involved.
Here's the Random Ten; put the iTunes on party shuffle and post the next ten songs to pop up. No skipping songs that reveal your innermost thoughts. We already know you stand in the bathroom singing "At This Moment" into your hairbrush; nothing on your list will embarrass you worse than that. Here we go.
1. Roll Off Me--Talib KweliWow. That is, ummm, far-ranging. Leave your lists in comments, or tell me what project you'd like to see the government get into in order to stimulate the economy.
2. Female of the Species--Space
3. Welcome Back--Young Jeezy
4. Punk Rock Girl--Dead Milkmen
5. Crime Spree--MC Frontalot
6. Milkcow's Calf Blues---Robert Johnson
7. Der Kommissar--Falco
8. 400 Bucks--Reverend Horton Heat
9. Le Souk--Dave Brubeck
10. Jive at Five--Count Basie