Advocating Structural Economic Reform

Two page article from Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary and leading liberal on economic policy:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/02/03/after_the_stimulus/index.html

Reich is right.  We need in the short term to use the government to buy the country out of this deep recession.  But furthermore we need to use this opportunity to fix the underlying problems, like crappy infrastructure, affordable healthcare, education, and wealth allocation.  Basically, its time for a New Deal II.

1. Infrastructure improvements:  This takes several forms.  It means transportation, ie the highway system.  In some cases that is building new roads, but in most cases it simply means repairing and improving existing routes.  It means the national air travel system.  It also means the electricity grid, the information superhighway, and etc.

2. Healthcare: Its a mess right now.  Affordable healthcare would relieve stress on many family budgets, among other economic benefits.

3. Education: As Reich outlined in his article, if you improve education, you boost the number of people qualified to work (therefore taking them off the public dole) and you reduce incarceration rates.  People are less likely to commit crimes if they like their lives and they have a future.  Obviously you don’t eliminate crime; some people are simply assholes.  But you can reduce it.

4. Wealth allocation: I don’t know how you fix that exactly, but its criminal that 1% of the country has 1/5 of the nation’s wealth.  Mostly, if you boost the standing of the lower and middle classes, that by extension means some wealth was reallocated.

It remains to be seen if President Obama has the clout and wherewithall to get it done.  But it needs done.

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