Saturday, March 15, 2008

Why Are We Giving People Money?

The recent downturn in the economy and the credit crunch/housing crash have left a lot of people wondering, how do we fix this problem. Jerome a Paris who diaries at Daily Kos has stated that part of the problem is that we are creating too much debt for ourselves and our income has been level on average since 2001. But how do we generate more income for workers who have seen wages stagnate and some jobs shipped elsewhere or flat out disappear from the coming(if not already here) home construction bust? Also how do we create lasting value?

A national infrastructure program. That is spending on alternative energy infrastructure and massive transit upgrades. This would do two things as Jerome states so well:
...provide a real boost to the economy in the sectors that actually need it, would reduce oil&gas consumption and carbon emissions, and be an actual investment in the future, as opposed to the current drain on the future that's been engineered via debt used on mindless consumption of junk.
It would sure beat everyone getting $600 dollars to spend on goods made overseas. But what makes this a better investment? Recently a report from the Institute of Policy Studies came out that discussed the jobs created in the defense industry versus other key sectors that need investment. Spending on education and transit created far more jobs than defense. Transit was the highest job creator and created predominantly middle class jobs with incomes between $32-$64k. I would imagine greater increases in spending for transit would generate even more jobs as there are needs for manufacturing when demand is created.

(H/T Free Public Transit Blog)

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