President Bush and Congress are touting their economic stimulus package as a means to prevent the U.S. economy from falling into a recession. The stimulus package would give families tax rebates, essentially giving families money to promote consumer spending. I have a better idea, invest in infrastructure. Investing in infrastructure will not create the immediate jolt that extra consumer spending would but it will create jobs and and improve the long-term health of the economy. Spending on infrastructure creates resources that can be used to create more jobs and affect our energy consumption. Congestion on our roadways waste millions of gallons of gasoline and diesel a day. Smart infrastructure spending decreases congestion and encourages carpooling and mass transit use, reducing our nation's dependence on oil. Increased consumer spending will likely increase our balance of trade deficit because the U.S. imports so many finished consumer goods, further depressing the value of the dollar and potentially weakening the U.S. economy's long-term health.
We are all well aware of America's infrastructure deficiencies. The American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card explains what infrastructure is most in need of repair and what it will take to fix the problem. Spending money on infrastructure and creating jobs will create long-term growth in the economy and improve our quality of life and would be a great way to stimulate the economy.