Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Next $700 Billion Stimulus

So, Mr. Axelrod was out today telling everyone that President-elect Obama's stimulus package will be between $675 bil and $775 bil. I'll give you a moment to digest that number.

Okay, so we're going to spend it and everyone will be lined up to get a piece of the pie (there will be no controlling the pork in this proposal). Take a note from Mr. Friedman as he relates the experience of traveling from the Asia to JFK.

"On Kau Sai Chau, an island off Hong Kong, I stood on a rocky hilltop overlooking the South China Sea and talked to my wife back in Maryland, static-free, using a friend’s Chinese cellphone. A few hours later, I took off from Hong Kong’s ultramodern airport after riding out there from downtown on a sleek high-speed train — with wireless connectivity that was so good I was able to surf the Web the whole way on my laptop.

Landing at Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong was, as I’ve argued before, like going from the Jetsons to the Flintstones. The ugly, low-ceilinged arrival hall was cramped, and using a luggage cart cost $3. (Couldn’t we at least supply foreign visitors with a free luggage cart, like other major airports in the world?)

The next day I went to Penn Station, I took the Acela, America’s sorry excuse for a bullet train, from New York to Washington. Along the way, I tried to use my cellphone to conduct an interview and my conversation was interrupted by three dropped calls within one 15-minute span."

That's an embarrasment. How can we compete in a global environment when our kids will inherit a country that has the infrastructure of decaying third world country? So let's be smart with this money - energy, tech infrastructure, education (real education - that challenges our kids and our teachers to be better) - or else. We need to be wary of the many hands that will come begging for a piece of the stimulus (retailers, commercial real estate, developers, etc).

If we are not on guard, losing 30% in your 401k is going to look like a walk in the park compared to what the future holds for us.

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