Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Not So Fast!

"It[the economic stimulus] was mostly a political exercise, designed to claim credit for any recovery, shower benefits on favored constituencies, and signal support for fashionable causes."

Robert J.Samuelson, "The Squandered Stimulus," The Washington Post, July 20, 2009.

I'm a bit more patient but I would have to agree that the stimulus hasn't fulfilled its metaphoric aspirations of "jumpstarting" the economy. But there was a lot to get right and a lot of bad stuff to get undone. So, we'll see.

I do agree that ARRA has stimulated a talkathon about social innovations of the day and an obsessive daily preoccupation with how to move forward a new agenda. Some of this is fine, but I do wonder if we should be collectively worrying more about the economy, job dislocations, and helping people and businesses keep it together.

Some economic dreaming that I do think is worthwhile has involved priming the green economy -- steps toward massive retrofitting of our cities and metro areas. Interesting partnerships of labor,business, community, and the environment are coming together in new ways to see if we can use the stimulus to design the beginnings of a big effort, with big economic payoffs.

Its feasibility and payoffs won't be evident for a while but I'm hoping it's worth the wait.

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