Bring on U.S. Economic Stimulus Package, Part II
The U.S. needs a second economic stimulus package to help struggling Americans and invigorate the economy by putting more money into circulation. Pro or con?
Pro: Families Need Reinforcement
Our country is facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. While Wall Street rides the roller coaster, too many families are facing immediate crises like layoffs, home foreclosures, and bankruptcy. Last month alone, our economy shed 240,000 jobs, bringing the year’s total to 1.2 million. The unemployment rate jumped to 6.5%, a 14-year high. We need to stop the bleeding quickly.
This situation requires urgent congressional action on an economic recovery package that dedicates enough money to really matter to working people who need help getting back on track. The recovery package must include an extension of unemployment benefits and increased funding for food stamps while providing aid to local and state governments to maintain vital services. It should also include an immediate investment in infrastructure spending to rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools and put people to work. Not only will these measures help struggling families stay afloat, they’ll boost the overall economy and put more money in the pockets of small businesses and others who are hurting.
While short-term solutions are important, we need to look further down the road to prevent a repeat of the current economic crisis. That means broad-based, commonsense economic changes to help save the middle class. Wall Street should be re-regulated to restore the integrity of the banking and financial sectors and protect working people’s hard-earned money. We must develop a new model for economic growth that bolsters U.S. competitiveness. Finally, to help the middle class, we need to ensure workers have the freedom to form and join unions to bargain for better wages and benefits by passing the Employee Free Choice Act.
Con: Use the Money to Create Jobs
I’m opposed to a second economic stimulus package similar in nature to the one delivered the first time in spring 2008, where $168 billion was wasted by sending $600 to anyone with a pulse and a post-office box.
If the true objective of an economic stimulus package is to "pump money into the economy in order to reinvigorate it," let’s be smarter this time. Sending $600 checks to millions of people did not solve the problem as proven by "here we are again." If that approach had worked, there wouldn’t even be this discussion.
Instead of gratuitously mailing checks, let’s pump that same amount of money into the system by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs: by repairing roads, highways, bridges, hospitals, and schools across the U.S. That same $150 billion would reemploy the unemployed and provide a direct stimulus to the local, state, and national economy. A well-funded national initiative similar to the Works Progress Administration (WPA) would solve this economic crisis the same way it solved a greater economic crisis during the Great Depression.
Such a plan would reduce unemployment to virtually zero, while pumping billions of dollars into those communities hardest hit by the recession and unemployment. The beneficial end product would be fourfold:
1. Gainfully employed citizens with a new lease on life (lower crime, drugs, alcohol, etc.)
2. "New" paychecks being spent in the local economy (direct infusion of money where it will be circulated again and again
3. Removal of economic blight in some of our major cities
4. Creation and repair of infrastructure