Of course, this "plan" is pretty damn skimpy on any details, figures, or anything that suggests it's more than pie-in-the-sky, I'm-sure-this-all-adds-up thinking. That being the kind of thinking that seems to make sense but doesn't really, such as "I'll drill a second hole in the boat so that the water leaks out as fast as it leaks in from the first hole!" or "Well, sure I lost some income when I lost my job as a CEO, but I got a new job as a barista- I've lost a job, I've gained a job, so clearly I'm doing exactly the same as before!". Of course, those examples are so bleedingly obvious no one makes that mistake- but when dealing with complex economic issues that can't be easily visualized or understood, people often use that kind of logic- such as "any revenue we lose in tax cuts will surely be made up by new tax revenues from growth in the economy due to new investments from those tax cuts!" (as I said, examples abound from all parts of the political spectrum, left & right and parts between). It always sounds good, but sometimes it doesn't always add up that way...
Uh, all that said I actually agree with Galen that public works projects are beneficial to kickstarting an economy- for example, Al Gore did have a big hand in giving us that tech economy in the first place by sponsoring some key legislation back in the late 70's/ early 80's to keep funding the research institutions that developed the foundation of the Internet as we know it. No joke...
Did Al Gore Invent The Internet? [Also, Letters for this column]Open Letter from Robert Kahn and Vint Cerf
Sorry... couldn't resist. :)posted by hincandenza at 10:47 PM on September 9, 2001
The problem is that this would indeed be a monumental, multibillion dollar undertaking, which would take YEARS to complete and thus would have not a snowball's chance of getting us out of this current slump, which will probably blow over sometime in 1Q 2002 anyway.
And we haven't even begun to think about the political mess such a plan would inspire. Many in Congress would not want to blow untold billions on something, and then have all the profits go to private companies that made no investment in the project at all.posted by aaron at 11:02 PM on September 9, 2001
Um, I don't want to sound cynical, but isn't that Congress' modus operandi? Hence the phrase "corporate welfare"...
I agree that a last mile solution will have major economic benefits, but you're right that as public-works-projects-to-stimulate-the-economy-now I don't think it would work.posted by hincandenza at 11:35 PM on September 9, 2001
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