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New Economic Solutions For The 21st Century
Which Path Will the U.S. Take At This Economic Crossroads?
The United States is at a historic crossroads. The direction that it now takes will determine if it continues to be a global leader. Many feel that the decline of the U.S. is part of a natural cycle in world history. Others see it as a temporary blip in the inexorable march of American exceptionalism. Neither view is inevitable but as always change is. The change that I advocate for is a systematic investment by the U.S. in education, infrastructure, scientific research, and green energy investment. We are in a unique position at this time to more easily facilitate this program. This is ironically the result of the collapse of the U.S. economy beginning in late 2007 as a result of irrational economic investments. This collapse called for economic stimulus. The first round of stimulus in 2009 has to date been marginally helpful with a woeful deficit of investment in our economic future. Now is the time to remedy this misstep. Many calls have arisen for a second stimulus due to our stubbornly high unemployment rate. Now is the time to install the plan that I am advocating. It will ensure our long term economic growth while also stimulating the economy immediately.
I believe that true infrastructure investment is the ideal starting point for my plan. This would be the quickest way to stimulate economic and employment growth. But these investments should be true long term investments and not short term political pork projects. A crumbling infrastructure could also derail other reforms. Tight budgets have stolen funds from capital budgets and these should be restored and expanded upon. This large down payment on our country's infrastructure projects will ease the burden on our states and cities which will free up funds for other essential services especially education. This leads me to our most crucial investment and responsibility.
The education of our children is crucial to the continuing vitality of our economy. Innovation in all fields has been a hallmark of our nation's creativity in the sciences and the arts. Our student academic performance has been steadily deteriorating over the last several years putting this creative edge in danger. This is especially true in our poorer school districts. An unprecedented strong investment in our schools is essential to reverse this alarming trend. But increased spending without new ideas to improve our education system would be foolish. Experimental charter schools, increased academic standards, and greater teacher accountability should be part of a new education policy. New and increased tax credits for college education should also be used to allow a wider swath of our population access to higher education.
Investment in scientific and medical research should be another major area for stimulus funds. Military and space research have spawned countless commercial breakthroughs that we use in our everyday lives. Large amounts of seed money should be granted to universities and corporations for targeted critical research which would spur similar innovations and discoveries that would be essential to our economic expansion. Stem cell and other genetic research show major capacities for rapid advancements in medicine. The laying of new fiber optic lines is another potential area of investment which would tremendously increase information transmission capacity. This investment would allow for much greater productivity. Basic research in our universities as always should be funded and expanded. It should not be slashed as it always is during economic downturns. Once again education is our future.
Alternative green energy is my final area for investment but by no means less important. It is vital to our economy, security, and environment. The truth of the matter is our oil and natural gas supplies are finite and rapidly shrinking. The sooner we seriously invest in alternative energy options the easier our transition will be. Environmental damage has been rapid due to global warming caused by fossil fuel use. Dependence on foreign oil has undermined our national security and has pushed us into Middle Eastern wars. For all of these reasons there is no time to waste. Delay will only exacerbate these problems. We have invested in solar power, wind power, synfuels, nuclear energy, and other alternatives over the years at varying levels. These investments have been administered as direct grants or tax credits. I believe these investments in energy diversification should be enormously expanded and made part of a new and expansive energy policy. President Obama's cap and trade energy legislation is an important step towards improving our environment as well as creating energy policy. My investment program would be an important companion to this legislation or an essential alternative if it fails.
The Obama administration has now passed their health care overhaul which consumed them for over a year. This was a historic achievement but the time has now come to lay the foundation for the revival of our economy. The plan I have set forward here will address present high unemployment but more importantly it will sow the seeds for our future economic security. But we must guard against another pork laden stimulus bill. My plan would inject funds into the economy quickly in labor intensive industries. The continuing investment will return the United States to pre-eminence in the world and lead the way for other countries to follow. I sincerely hope that we take advantage of this opportunity.