On the verge of global economic collapse, we hear many ideas about how to improve our economy. Just spending more is not going to work. You can add all the fuel you want to a broken engine, but our nation needs to make some fundamental changes. If we are going to spend trillions in taxpayer dollars, we must make them count.
Here are 10 points that I feel will help rebuild the economy, but it won’t be quick, cheap, or easy. The first five points are more short-term in nature and the last five more long-term:
The Treasury should enable banks to bring mortgage rates down to 3.5 percent, 200 basis points below the current market rate. A substantial decrease will help to stabilize the mortgage industry.
Have a one-time doubling of the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction for 2008.
– Such a tax savings will directly help millions of struggling American families.
Of the $700 billion in TARP monies authorized, $70 billion should go directly towards helping states and municipalities with their budget shortfalls.
– Redirecting that portion of the funding will help to secure millions of jobs and ensure that vital services are not interrupted.
– Should only be used to assist with up to 50 percent of the budget gap needed once the state/municipality shows it is able to make the necessary adjustments for the remaining 50 percent.
Stop political grandstanding and help the car industry with bridge loans maxing out at $50 billion.
– These funds should only be accessed on a strictly as needed basis.
– The Big Three should have only six months to right-size their business and re-organize the American car industry with a viable sustainable business model.
Double the Pell Grants for the spring semester of 2009 to help struggling families cover the cost of higher education as tuition spirals out of control, while at the same time helping colleges and universities maintain their enrollment, keeping them stable.
Invest $1 trillion in major infrastructure projects over the next three years, projects which will create jobs.
– The government should rebuild our deteriorating bridges so to avoid a repeat of the Minneapolis bridge collapse. Approximately one-third of our nation’s bridges are in unacceptable condition.
– The United States needs investment in proper border and port security with investments in technology.
– Let us prepare for a National Energy Revolution by beefing up our national grid to support the efficient transfer of energy over long distances.
– Investment in high-speed passenger and freight rail to connect our businesses at a speed that truly reflects our 21st century technology, not the 19th century.
– Freight rail investments will reduce inventory costs with shorter freight transport times.
– Investment in passenger rail will allow for top quality jobs to reach every corner of our nation with workers being able to travel much longer distances for a career choice.
Support the passage of HR 676, which will solve our major health-care woes by reducing inefficiency in the system and help American businesses compete both domestically and globally.
Invest in green technologies that will help to lessen our dependence on foreign oil and create millions of new green-collar jobs. These are quality jobs that produce family supporting wages, many of which cannot be outsourced.
Enact common-sense regulation over Wall Street and executive compensation, including regulations that eliminate improper speculation of energy commodities.
– Enact legislation that ends tax breaks for excessive executive compensation. If a firm wants to pay an executive more than 100 times it pays its bottom workers, the firm should not be able to deduct any compensation over 100 times as an operating expense. Such a deduction results in a tax break for the firm.
If we want a government that works for the people and not big money, then we must take money out of the system and have federal elections that are publicly financed. The lobbyists and special interests got us into this economic mess with their control over Washington, and now it’s time to regain the Republic.
– Column by Sam Rasoul