We Caught the Car, Now What Do We Do With It
by Texas Nate, Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 06:20:19 AM EST
Yay we won!
Now we're in the driver's seat and the problems coming down the road are much bigger, scarier and implacable than any we've seen in our lifetimes.
In my experience there's only one way to drive out of a fiasco -- fast and in the right direction.
It's not the time for half-measures and Dean Baker has a great idea, healthcare:
More importantly, it will provide the same access to health care that people in other wealthy countries have long taken for granted. For this accomplishment, President Obama will rank alongside Presidents Roosevelt and Lincoln as one of the nation's truly great presidents.
The backdrop is straightforward. Economists from across the political spectrum are now calling for a large stimulus package to limit the economy's decline and the rise in unemployment. The consensus is in the range of 2.0-2.5 percent of GDP, or $300 billion to $400 billion a year.
And if that sounds pie-in-the-sky, check this NYT op-ed from Bob Rubin and Jared Bernstein:
We also jointly believe that fiscal stimulus must be married to a commitment to re-establishing sound fiscal conditions with a multi-year program that includes room for critical public investment, once the economy is back on a healthy track.
One of us (Mr. Rubin) views long-term fiscal deficits -- in combination with a low national savings rate, large current account deficits and foreign portfolios that are heavily over-weighted in dollar-dominated assets -- as a serious threat to long-term interest rates and our currency and, therefore, to our economic future. The other views these economic relationships as much weaker.
At the same time, we both agree that our economic future also requires public investment in critical areas like education, health care, energy, worker training and much else. In our view, then, the next president needs to proceed on multiple tracks, with both the restoration of a sound fiscal regime and critical public investment.
Can we get out of this crisis? Can we do the things we need to do to help those in need -- especially the state governments that actually do so much of the public service work in this country?
Do I really have to ask the answer to that question, today of all days?
YES WE CAN.