First-grade wisdom would serve stimulus well
Vail, CO, Colorado
The $787 billion economic stimulus bill passed in the U.S. House on Friday with a vote of 246 to 183. Not a single Republican voted in favor of the bill.
Now, I firmly believe that bipartisan bickering has its place. It can prevent bad decisions and, in some cases, make good ones better.
But how does cutting all of the provisions in the bill intended for primary education make this better? How does cutting the funds in half for retrofitting buildings to be energy efficient help? Or deleting the line that would create grants for smart university kids coming up with our next clean cars and factories?
Republicans have criticized the bill for borrowing too much from the next generation, which is certainly a valid concern. But where they don’t get it is that the best parts of this bill are the lines that invest in the next generation, not those that send tax cuts back out to this generation to go spend at Wal-Mart or on new Chinese-made clothes.
If we are spending the next generation’s money, and we most certainly are, it is beyond unconscionable that we would not invest at least some of it back in them. This bill cheats all those first-graders sitting in classrooms across America. We borrow their money, give them a huge debt to inherit and scratch their education off of the list.
Republicans insisted that investment in education does not have any stimulative thrust. Sure, it may not be “shovel-ready.” It’s better than that.
An investment in education would help our first-graders to create inventions and investments, business start-ups and medical procedures that can compete against what the next generation of Indians and Chinese will surely create.
The point is that we do not want our first-graders to be coming up with their own “shovel-ready” projects when it is their turn to be in charge. No stimulus bill will ever revive and rejuvenate our economy like our youth.
It is their ideas and their energy that will bring about the next Microsoft and Google. In one of those classrooms is the next Bill Gates. I can think of little more stimulating than to invest in them.
The funds intended to retrofit buildings to be more energy efficient did not fare quite as badly: Instead of being cut entirely, they were halved.
What makes no sense is that this project is shovel-ready. It invests in the future
and gives kids one less thing to deal with when they grow up. It combines three of our most crucial concerns: creating jobs, minimizing energy usage and protecting the environment.
Right now, there’s a great opportunity not only to make America’s economy stronger by making it greener but to make unemployed Americans part of a revitalized middle class. Now why would that get cut? A first-grader would know better.
The last is truly the most baffling: cutting a comparatively modest $1 billion for grants to the very people who will invent our way out. It was decided that investment in America’s smartest minds working on new ways to make energy just was not important enough.
Well, what if the U.S. government had not helped out Detroit in the early days (or even these days) or nurtured the technology boom? Well, we probably would not have exported billions of dollars in cars and computers ” or at least not as soon.
The sooner the United States can build and export the next generation of solar panels and fuel cells, the sooner we will see the bull back in the market.
One of the top 10 richest men in China got there by building solar panels. If we wait until all 10 of those Chinese men are in the energy business, then the American economy will continue to lose, and our kids will lose out.
Just because the other party came up with the idea does not mean that it is wrong. What is wrong is to rewrite the bill so that it will only help today and be forgotten tomorrow.
The kids are paying for it, so why can’t we write it for them?