Obama's Stimulus Package Disappoints

Columnist David Brooks warns that the Obama stimulus package fails to build on the current social movement to enliven existing suburbs and instead appears to follow a traditional roads, bridges, and refurbishing existing infrastructure approach.
December 10, 2008, 9am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"Joel Kotkin, the author of 'The New Geography,' calls this clustering phenomenon the New Localism.

Barack Obama has said that he would start an infrastructure project that will dwarf Dwight Eisenhower's highway program. It would be great if Obama's spending, instead of just dissolving into the maw of construction, would actually encourage the clustering and leave a legacy that would be visible and beloved 50 years from now."

Brooks lays out what is needed "to take advantage of the growing desire for community."

"But alas, there's no evidence so far that the Obama infrastructure plan is attached to any larger social vision. In fact, there is a real danger that the plan will retard innovation and entrench the past.

Instead, the package appears likely to "simply throw money at things that already exist", or as the current vernacular goes, that are 'shovel-ready'.

"Before the recession hit, we were enjoying a period of urban and suburban innovation. We could have been on the verge of a transportation revolution. It looks as if the Obama infrastructure plan may freeze that change, not fuel it."

Thanks to Steven Sondheim

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Published on Tuesday, December 9, 2008 in The New York Times
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