Bob Herbert turns his attention to all the current Stimu-Rama! (TM) to write the column that cuts to the quick of all our current Stimu-Rama! (TM).
Economic alarm bells have been ringing in the U.S. for some time. There was no sense of urgency as long as those in the lower ranks were sinking in the mortgage muck and the middle class was raiding the piggy bank otherwise known as home equity.
But now that the privileged few are threatened (Merrill Lynch took a $9.8 billion fourth-quarter hit, and the stock market has spent the first part of the year behaving like an Olympic diving champion), it’s suddenly time to take action.
There is no question that some kind of stimulus package geared to the needs of ordinary Americans is in order. But that won’t begin to solve the fundamental problem.
That's been the message from any number of bloggers for quite a while now - my blog and Mick Arran's included. This is the message that Edwards is really running on with all his talk of unions and opportunity -even if he hasn't been able to articulate well enough to win. The results in Nevada certainly indicate that he has not. Herbert's column doesn't mention unions at all, which is disappointing. Instead he makes the always overlooked and crucial point that we have an infrastructure in the United States that is crumbling and that there may be jobs there if we cared to fund them. He also mentions the energy crisitunity at our doorstep should we care to look.
I’d start with a broad program to rebuild the American infrastructure. This would have the dual benefit of putting large numbers of people to work and answering a crying need. The infrastructure is in sorry shape. New Orleans comes to mind, and the tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis.
The country that gave us the Marshall Plan to rebuild postwar Europe ought to be able, 60 years later, to reconstitute its own sagging infrastructure.
There are also untold numbers of jobs and myriad societal benefits to be reaped from a sustained, good-faith effort to achieve energy self-sufficiency. Think Manhattan Project.
Or Apollo Project.
In the beginning of the column, Herbert characterized the people running the country as confused and inconsistent, running from one problem to another. But that's a wildly charitable description because anyone who has paid even a little bit of attention to the dismantling of the New Deal knows that the people who run this country, and more importantly the people who run the world's largest corporations, are not confused and they are not even a little bit inconsistent. They are out to destroy America's middle class, cripple our infrastructure and roll back every one of the public gains made since FDR. What's good for the USA is no longer good for General Motors. In fact, the exact opposite is true.