We appear to be awash in bad news. The nation has been in a recession since December 2007. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits is the highest it has been in 26 years, and consumer spending, which is the fuel for the economy’s engine is drying up. Due to years of deficit spending, the national debt is closing in on $11 trillion.
So what do the leading economists in the nation think we should do? Increase the national debt to stimulate the economy. The thought behind it is that avoiding a deepening recession is more important than higher budget deficits. We have already committed $700 billion to bailout a financial industry that could not regulate itself. President-elect Obama has pledged to plow money into the largest infrastructure building plan since the Eisenhower Interstate highway program, and now we are going to pledge $14 billion to rescue the automobile industry, that is so oafish, it needs help to keep itself from stumbling into the abyss of bankruptcy.
We need a JFK challenge for the best and brightest Americans to come up with new solutions to our pressing issues. If we are going to invest tax dollars into bailing out companies that are too big to fail, shouldn’t we also have a say in how they use that money? If it comes down to borrowing money to stimulate the economy, shouldn’t we also invest in projects such as alternative energy to put people back to work and ease our dependency on foreign oil? In exchange for tax dollars, shouldn’t we demand that the foundering auto makers come up with a plan to focus on hybrid and 100% electric vehicles? Maybe then America can once again lead the world in something other than our carbon footprint.
The stakes are extremely high, but we have much to gain. Throughout our history, America has always risen to the occasion when things looked bleak. Tapping into the ingenuity of the American people has always been America’s salvation. Our deliverance from economic ruin depends on it.