The House has passed a $154 billion jobs bill, and the administration has announced a plan to spend $50 billion of repaid TARP money to "create" jobs—this time its green jobs, "shovel ready" infrastructure projects ($27.5 billion for highway construction and repair) and a tax credit for small businesses.
More infrastructure? Recycling Great Depression-era projects is lame. My advice? Put down that shovel! It's time to try something else.
We're in a knowledge economy now; we use high-tech tools to efficiently and effectively design, make, market and sell. Building roads and bridges willy-nilly won't make us more productive; and without increases in productivity and the associated corporate profits, there can be no sustainable job creation, no increase in standards of living, and no real economic recovery.
Given that real tax cuts are off the table and a new stimulus (even if it isn't called that) is inevitable, the best we can hope for is to use the power of the government to clear a path that private enterprise can't, via one-off projects that end and disband. Stop thinking concrete and massive construction projects. Think small—photons, electrons and proteins. Here are six ideas: