Stimulus Should Fund New, 'Transformative' Ideas

In this column, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer calls on the Obama Administration to direct its stimulus package towards innovative technologies and "transformative" projects, not just the status quo roads and bridges of the past.
January 10, 2009, 5am PST | Nate Berg
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"The 'off the shelf' infrastructure projects that can be funded immediately and provide immediate demand-side stimulus are almost by definition not the transformative investments we really need. Paving roads, repairing bridges that need refurbishing, and accelerating existing projects are all good and necessary, but not transformative. These projects by and large are building or patching the same economy with the same flaws that got us where we are. Our concern should be that as we look for the next great infrastructure project to transform our economy, we might rebuild the Erie Canal and find ourselves a century behind technologically."

"This moment presents the administration with what is likely to be its best-and perhaps only-opportunity to have essentially unlimited capital (both fiscal and political) to spend on a transformative economic agenda. It is a unique moment to build a new foundation. It would be wise to ensure that a significant portion of the stimulus package is spent on new investments that may not be quite as ready to go but are surely more important to our long-term economic viability."

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Published on Monday, January 5, 2009 in Slate
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