The American economic recovery has stalled, if it ever truly began in the first place, and it must be restarted if the United States hopes to climb out of recession.
Recharging the recovery effort will take considerable time and political will. The first obstacle that must be overcome is the effect of radical reactionaries in government. The Tea Party started as a fringe movement centered around hatred of Barack Obama for perceived faults as well as an ongoing faked debate about his eligibility for the presidency. It has since morphed into an aggressively anti-government organization that is intent on “saving” the economy from liberals, fascists, communists, socialists, and various other imaginary threats to safety and prosperity.
The economy will never recover if elected members of our government are more interested in undermining their ideological opposites than putting forth productive agendas.
The next obstacle to overcome is the unwillingness to try a federally supported stimulus. Opponents point out the fact that the first series of stimulus “failed,” but that is an overly simplified outlook. First and foremost, the stimulus successfully supported the economy for more than a year.
Unfortunately, the amount of growth it supported was far less than many in the administration had publicly projected. When the first stimulus programs were organized, they were organized incorrectly. The money was appropriated incorrectly and inefficiently.
James Galbraith, writing for The Los Angeles Times, argues convincingly that instead of basing policy on economic forecasts, the United States must base policy on potential worst-case scenarios.
Rather than organizing a stimulus assuming that the economy would eventually heal itself anyway, we must put together a centrally organized program that assumes that everything needs to be done. If we spend the money necessary to rebuild the economy from scratch, in the end we will have a strong and growing economy. The costs will be paid for over the long term by economic growth. If we choose to spend the money and the economy was indeed going to heal itself anyway, we still end up with a growing economy that can repay the costs of the project.
The danger lies in doing nothing, and allowing a worst-case scenario to unfold. The danger lies in hoping for a natural recovery, and being left with permanently high unemployment, permanently low innovation and development, and no prospects for the future.
The longer we wait as a nation to jump-start a recovery, the more expensive the jump-start becomes. If we plan for the worst and hope for the best we can make a dent in the recession and begin climbing out. If we remain paralyzed and lazy, hoping for a solution to fall from the sky, we will never recover.