I have been absolutely loving the political/academic discussion about the current economic crisis because we are all learning something. Today as I was driving home, listening to some expert or other talk about how government spending on bridges, roads and other "infrastructure" would provide the kind of stimulus needed to restart the stalling economy. Okay, I'll admit it: this sounds a little convincing. But a thought came to me minutes after hearing the report: what happens in four or six years (whenever the stimulus money is spent) to the workers who had been hired as a result of the stimulus?
So we imagine the unemployed worker who is willing to work, taking a job with a bridge-building company that can afford to hire him because they got a few commissions to build some roads in (say) North Carolina. It takes a lot of workers to build roads. Hire them, North Carolina! -- you can afford it now thanks to the stimulus money. Four years later, we have nicer roads in N.C., but the money is dry. What happens to the bloated bridge-building company who can't find a commission? What happens to the workers who were hired?
Oh, shucks... this is too complicated. And I don't want to sound cynical. Let's just trust that Paul Krugman knows what he's talking about, despite looking like the shiftiest-eyed huckster to ever walk the planet:
"He is not wholly at heart a knave, I fancy, among whose dupes is himself. Did you not see our quack friend apply to himself his own quackery? A fanatic quack; essentially a fool, though effectively a knave."
Please refrain from comment. NO TRUST here.
I hope you skipped all that. I've decided instead to type up a little optimistic list of the things I believe, in order to inspire confidence, because I believe that's what's really lacking these days, fellow Americans! Here's my list:
- I believe intellectuals pay too little attention to sports, and athletes pay too little attention to intellectual matters. But of the two groups, I believe intellectuals are in general more negligent. [Feeling warm and fuzzy yet?]
- I believe that people can change, for the better, right down to the core.
- I believe the time is ripe.
- I believe in the notion of Sabbath or sacred time.
- I believe America is a special case.
- I believe fathers and sons can really know each other -- just barely.
- I believe that intense study born of earnest curiosity can lead a person to unexpectedly fine experiences.
- I believe people in a "state of nature" are naturally (but not entirely) good.
- I believe that the human story will not end on the planet earth.
- I believe Art is approaching a golden age.
- I believe it is a great blessing to be multi-lingual.
- I believe one glass of wine a day is good for health; and that two is detrimental.
- I believe that the meek shall inherit the earth.
- I believe that the television program Chuck, airing on NBC Monday in 3-D, is a significant breakthrough in the business of entertaining me.
- I believe in hard work, free markets, and charity.
- I believe that the world will not end in 2012.
- I believe that I'll be in Charleston with family during the total eclipse of 2017.
- I believe that things are getting better on the planet, and that ideas are the cause.
- I believe ties are permanently going out of style (good riddance!).
- I believe computers should be used in moderation.
- I believe "exercise" is religious in nature.
- I believe that more than 80% of Americans are polytheists.
- I believe that Umbros were good shorts.
- I believe everyone has a right to learn how to swim.
- I believe race is as superficial as eye color, and that human beings will figure that out before 2,300.
- I believe I will get to fly out of earth's atmosphere before I die, and I'm already nervous about it.
- I believe in eternal life.
- I believe family medicine and psychiatry will become better versed in natural/homeopathic and traditional healing or they will become irrelevant.
- I believe China will be a great beacon for humanity in the next 100 years.
- I believe the universe is an organism, and we are some of its tiniest components, and that we have not yet begun to imagine what it means to be "intelligent."
- I believe in trying new foods.
- I believe that moderation in most things is a good rule of thumb.
- I believe in dead relatives, old friends, and history books.
- I believe that hands are the other windows to the soul.
- I believe in the saving power of doubt.
- I believe we're overdue for a religious revolution.
- I believe that freedom and discipline are equally necessary.
- I believe that we are as young as our spines are flexible.
Thanks for coming along! Best wishes. Shantih Shantih Shantih.