Mr. Bernanke seems nervous, and stresses the need for speed. This is $100 billion to boost consumption. Obviously the best place to put it is in the hands of people who will spend it immediately. Generally speaking the poorer the recipient, the faster the stimulation flows into the system. But I would say that.
If it works, then perhaps Mr. Bernanke will consider a more permanent “stimulus” in the form of universal health care and a sharp increase in the minimum wage.
Instead of diverting hundreds of billions of dollars into unnecessary wars of choice, and hundreds of millions into incarcerating the poor, a more enlightened administration might consider an extensive program of infrastructure re-design to accommodate our new healthy lifestyles. More walking, more bicycles, more local production and consumption, significantly less use of fossil fuels.
The redesign of the suburbs to encompass more viable communities with work, food, water and power all locally available. The construction of efficient rail and canal transportation. And some decent schools. There is an almost unending list. Many of these projects have been waiting for years for funding to be available, everything else is already in place.
If this situation leads to a rethink of the whole stimulus game, then we might restore something meaningful to the term “civilization”.