Back when he was a university professor, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke specialized in studying the causes of the Great Depression. Now, he has his hands full trying to prevent a second one. Today, Bernanke told the House Budget Committee that the time is right for the government to stimulate the economy. House Democrats and experts like Nobel winner Paul Krugman have been saying the same thing for a while.
They are right. This time, however, instead of rebate checks, the money should be spent in ways that will have strong multiplier effects. It’s about food stamps, and heating assistance. It’s about infrastructure, like long-overdue transit projects like the Green Line to Somerville and high-speed rail to Springfield, and yes, fixing roads. And it’s about critical services provided by government and the nonprofit sector — youth centers, housing for the homeless, health care, services for the mentally ill.
If a $300 billion stimulus plan was spent in all 50 states in proportion to our population, that would be $6.2 billion for Massachusetts. Let’s make an investment in our future.