Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ummm...Yeah, That's Exactly It.

I've disagreed with David Brooks in the past, like here. But amazingly, when he contradicts himself (or in this case, it appears to be more of a change in mindset), I couldn't agree more!!!

David Brooks come to Jeezus moment:

Some of the most telling excerpts:
If you asked people in that age of go-go suburbia what they wanted in their new housing developments, they often said they wanted a golf course. But the culture has changed. If you ask people today what they want, they’re more likely to say coffee shops, hiking trails and community centers.
This is the guy who wrote a book praising the exurbs.
There are restaurant and entertainment zones, mixed-use streetscape malls, suburban theater districts, farmers’ markets and concert halls. In addition, downtown areas in places like Charlotte and Dallas are reviving as many people move back into the city in search of human contact. Joel Kotkin, the author of “The New Geography,” calls this clustering phenomenon the New Localism.

...If, indeed, we are going to have a once-in-a-half-century infrastructure investment, it would be great if the program would build on today’s emerging patterns. It would be great if Obama’s spending, instead of just dissolving into the maw of construction, would actually encourage the clustering and leave a legacy that would be visible and beloved 50 years from now.

...This kind of stimulus would be consistent with Obama’s campaign, which was all about bringing Americans together in new ways. It would help maintain the social capital that’s about to be decimated by the economic downturn.

But alas, there’s no evidence so far that the Obama infrastructure plan is attached to any larger social vision. In fact, there is a real danger that the plan will retard innovation and entrench the past.
anddddd, for the key point...
This is the federal version of “This Old House.” And this is before the stimulus money gets diverted, as it inevitably will, to refurbish old companies. The auto bailout could eventually swallow $125 billion. After that, it could be the airlines and so on.
In other words, all of the industries that were created by the "great big bang" sending citizens adrift into a sea of Mickey D's. We're going to support them while, we create new growth industries that will kill them? Gawd, I hope not.

The next big question is, once we see a turn around and we create these new growth industries how do we ween them off the teet? It happened with Rail in the late 1800s, then with highway/road construction from 1940 to...hell, still today...