11.28.2008

Staggering

David Brooks makes me feel a little less lonely in my jeremiads against ballooning federal spending and loans.  He puts the recent outlays, now over $8 trillion, into perspective:

If you add up just the funds that have already been committed, you get a figure, according to Jim Bianco of Bianco Research, that is larger in today’s dollars than the costs of the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase, the New Deal, the Korean War, Vietnam and the S.&L. crisis combined.

Is all this money doing any good?

Thank you.

He suggests a number of ways to reinvigorate the American economy, including infusing federal cash into state universities.  While there is already a significant research investment by the federal government in various state university programs, I think Brooks' suggestion needs to be a bit more narrowly tailored.  

To serve the dual interests of federalism and increased science and technology expertise to retain a positions of international leadership, any federal financial incentives need to be tied to specific needs in math, technology, and science.  Building on the concept of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship,which matches federal fiscal incentives to individuals pursuing crucial careers, seems like a good idea to me.