We've all heard the proverb, "a good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow," or as General Patton put it, "I would rather have a good plan today than a perfect one two weeks from now."
If that's true of all plans, it goes double when we're talking about the stimulus plan in Washington.
In fact, I'd even go so far as to say a bad stimulus bill passed today is better than a good one passed in two weeks. The longer Congress deliberates, the worse things get and the harder they become to fix. That means, all else equal, every day we wait, the stimulus plan becomes worse.
We have the template, let's just pass it already.
Deliberation won't pay any dividends here. If we move too swiftly and screw up, we can just pass another stimulus package down the line to make things better. But if we wait to get it just right, we can't magically undo the economic damage that will happen in the interim, damage that could be prevented by passing this bill quickly.
On the one hand, it seems like the President understands this. He talks about bold and swift action, he says that businesses and workers, "cannot afford inaction or delay."
But then he tells us, "I hope to sign an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan into law in the next few weeks." (Bold and italics are mine.)
The next few weeks? Excuse me, but there's a big difference between passing this thing next week and passing it next month. I understand Obama isn't in control of the legislative process, but passing this thing in "the next few weeks" is not being bold or swift. Originally the new administration had hoped that Congress would put together and pass a bill that Obama could sign on his first day on office, but obviously that fell through.
The fault is not in our stars, but in our legislators.
Our Senators and Representatives all want to be heard. They want to be heard in the halls of Congress and they want to be heard pandering to their various constituencies, right and left, on cable news shows and talk-radio. I understand that this is standard congressional behavior--you don't run for this kind of office unless you love the sound of your own voice--but right now we simply don't have time to listen!
We need something to get the job market into gear now. If you're in your twenties like I am, then you're getting hurt the most by Congress' deliberate pace. We need a bill that will let older workers retire, opening up slots in the job market for younger people with less experience. We need to get the economy growing again because multiple studies have shown that people who graduate from college during a recession take a hit to their earnings that lasts from ten years to the rest of their lifetimes, compared to what their non-recession graduate peers earn.
We have a multi-car pile-up that's blocking the first few miles of the career highway. Congress needs to stop debating the best way to get the road clear and just pass something that gets the stimulus job done already.
The next few weeks isn't good enough. I want to hear the next few days.
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