Economy & Budget

A REAL Economic Prescription for What Ails Us

Both the Democratic and Republican parties need to wake up and smell the — well, not roses — of America’s economic crisis. The New York Times reports that 81 percent of Americans believe we are seriously off on the wrong track, a record in the history of polling. Consumer confidence is reaching all-time lows over the last 50 years. Wall Street and Main Street are jittery, teetering on the edge of what can only be described as a nervous breakdown.

And what did Congress and the president do to alleviate this disaster? They appropriated $150 billion to send checks for up to $600 to the bulk of Americans who qualify … hoping they will spend it. Right. When the average family has credit card debt of $9,600, maybe they need to pay off some of that debt instead of putting a down payment on another electronic device. The fundamental question, of course, is whether or not that huge outlay (adding more to the national debt) will really help the economy.

First, the letter that you just received in your mailbox telling you of the rebate and that you MIGHT be eligible cost $42 million to send out. Hmmmm. Don’t stop there, they plan to spend $200 million to publicize the rebates and then send the checks, roughly the cost of all the Super Bowl ads that were run this year.

Second, the recession is basically here and we lost 80,000 jobs in March, including over 50,000 construction jobs. How will that rebate lead to the creation of more employment for Americans compared to what could have been done attacking our infrastructure problems — mass transit, roads and bridges? The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that we could fix 700,000 bridges, like the one that collapsed in Minneapolis, for $188 billion.

There are plenty of projects that desperately need to be done to improve our nation. The question is why not put $150 billion where it can do the most good, create the most jobs and truly show that we really do know how to solve problems here in America.

Instead, we are applying the usual Band-Aids when major surgery is called for immediately. Congress and the president dropped the ball. We should call them on it.

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