Thursday, January 8, 2009

Economic stimulus: Consumption vs. investment

Gene Steuerle, long an advocate of fiscal responsibility, writes about declining investments in children and implicitly calls for that pattern to be reversed during our efforts to jump-start the macroeconomy.

He certainly has a good point, one that was also raised a quarter-century ago by Sam Preston in his 1984 PAA presidential address. Both Steuerle and Preston are either implicitly or explicitly referring to the growth in old-age support programs like Medicare and Social Security at the expense of youth support like education, S-CHIP, etc.

Could massive aid to state and local governments, which in our federal system are virtually the only gateways through which youth support flows, pass the Congress this spring?