Commentary: Cause for hope, concern in Obama's stimulus plan

January 8, 2009 

This editorial appeared in The State.

We are encouraged by the fact that President-elect Barack Obama seems prepared to do anything and everything it takes to pull the nation, and the world, out of this economic tailspin.

At the same time, we see cause for concern. What worries us? Well, the fact that he seems prepared to do anything and everything ....

Does it sound like we don't know what we want? Good. That means we're communicating clearly. Neither the best and brightest on Wall Street nor Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson nor Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke nor anyone else who should know what to do has shown much sign of knowing. We confess that we have no special wisdom that they lack.

But we cling hopefully to signs that the incoming president and his team might be onto something, or rather many somethings, in the set of strategies that have been partly unveiled in recent days. And that hope is something that has been rare lately.

Among the elements that encourage us:

• The plan to invest in the nation's crumbling infrastructure. Of all the ways the government could spend more to stimulate the economy — something that even many previously reluctant economists now believe it must do — improving our roads and bridges and other transportation systems would be of the most tangible long-term benefit (dramatically more tangible than, say, throwing billions at unreconstructed automakers). In South Carolina, the money might flow through the state Infrastructure Bank, which already has done the homework of identifying priorities.

To read the complete editorial, visit The State.

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