Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Investing in Future: More Stimulus

What to make of the idea of more economic stimulus, now that we seem to be determined to shore up failed banks, and the bankers that failed them? The first rule: avoid a massive asset bubble. We've seen at least two recently; real estate and before that, high tech stock. The second rule: all public spending is political, whether we recognize it or not. If I'm not mistaken, that's why we've seen declining funding for R&D and basic research. Leaving this to the private sector results in capital flight to areas that yield quick returns on Wall Street and speculation. The untempered "Free Market" philosophy of the last thirty years has proven itself to be, as in the previous century, not good for the people. Similarly, leaving philanthropy and charity to the private sector is tending sheep with wolves.

The best investments we could make would seem to be R & D in new science and technology applications, manufacturing enterprises we cannot do without such as autos and planes, the obvious -- energy, medical/health just to name a few. Of course injecting more $$$ into these areas is not as rapid an economic stimulus as cash in the pocket, but it may be almost as fast as the infrastructure projects Washington is talking about.

Careful screening may yield investment in businesses that are in a position to put many people into decent jobs quickly, such as construction projects. What else?

Here is another unique idea: provide a "co-op" fund for government and community organizations to invest in and rehabilitate houses. That would immediately begin to adjust the failing housing market. It might even put some people to work right away.

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