Cross posted at myDD
A week after the the Washington Post completely botched their assessment of a second stimulus package, the New York Times turns around and nails it.
Their editorial entitled "No End in Site" lays out perfectly what the next few steps should be to help the economy whether this current storm. They begin by stating the obvious:
Lawmakers need to start crafting the next stimulus bill — without repeating the mistakes of the last one. Composed mainly of tax rebates, as the White House wanted, the first stimulus was too broad to deliver a powerful punch.
Amen. It is clear that the first round of stimulus checks didn't work. The editorial then confirms what many experts have been saying is a real potentially relief-filled measure that Congress needs to take with the second stimulus package:
The next package has to focus on actions that are known to yield big economic benefits: bolstered food stamps, which rapidly boost consumption; and aid to states and cities so they can continue to provide essential services.
Lawmakers should also invest in infrastructure projects, like repairing bridges and roads. If not, projects that are already under way may have to be canceled, creating more unemployment.
Thank you. The fact that state and city governments are not asking for money to continue radical spending on pet projects, but instead to protect essential services like education and health care seems to be lost on the minds of those who are not in favor of including state aid in a second stimulus package. Every week there are stories upon stories of states being forced to slash budgets, pay, and jobs. They are a linch pin of the economy and no one seems to notice. And investing in infrastructure will ensure that we don't add thousands of workers who make their living off of said infrastructure projects. The construction industry has been hit hard enough as is.
The editorial also touches on a response to the home foreclosure crisis:
Congress also needs to ensure that a $4 billion grant to states and cities to buy up vacant properties is quickly and efficiently distributed. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is developing the formula for allocating the money, and early indications suggest it is on top of the process. But the White House is contemptuous of the grant, calling it a gift to speculators when it is actually a lifeline for ailing communities.
If you aren't a Bush republican who just hates any sort of aid not aimed at the highest income bracket, then the main criticism of this effort is that is simply not enough to have an impact on the housing market. Whether or not this is true remains to be seen, but it is still $4 billion to help turn foreclosed properties that the states with said properties currently do not have. In that regard it is a stabilizing factor, even if it is not the stabilizing factor that ultimately turns the foreclosure crisis around. As the editorial says, it is a lifeline for ailing communities who simply do not have the money do to anything with these foreclosed homes.
The time for action is now, but because Congress is in recess the time for action will actually be September. The article suggests the difficulty with creating a second stimulus package in an election year, but brings up the most important point of them all:
Millions of Americans are already suffering. And we fear millions more will be hurt before this crisis ends. They cannot wait until after the election for help.
A very valid point. It's hard to care about battleground polls, attack ads, and town halls when you're losing your job and your home.