Thomas Friedman penned a great column in the NYT today. Here’s an especially striking excerpt:
That’s why we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover. That is why the next few months are among the most important in U.S. history. Because of the financial crisis, Barack Obama has the bipartisan support to spend $1 trillion in stimulus. But we must make certain that every bailout dollar, which we’re borrowing from our kids’ future, is spent wisely.
It has to go into training teachers, educating scientists and engineers, paying for research and building the most productivity-enhancing infrastructure — without building white elephants.
He is right! This TRILLION dollars that will be spent is going to ensure higher taxes and less governmental benefits for a future generation. So while we are spending their money, let’s do it in such a way that it might pay itself off. And the best way to do that is to COMPLETELY OVERHAUL our infrastructure.
- Highways and bridges need to be repaired. The Minnesota bridge collapse proves this. However, this is a small part of what is needed.
- Revitalize Amtrak and the railroad infrastructure. Privatize it and provide tax incentives for companies developing train technology. It could be the dawn of a new industry in America.
- Overhaul the energy grid! This isn’t talked about much, but we actually need to replace the energy grid. We need an energy highway, a national interstate for energy. This is especially so with alternative energy i.e. solar and wind that gather electricity in remote places. These areas cannot transport all the energy generated there to areas such as cities where the demand is high.
We need these changes. I hope Barack spends our money wisely. The consequences, as Friedman also states, will be dire if we don’t.