Vice President Elect Joe Biden was on ABC’s This Week program today, where he talked about the state of the economy, the incoming administration’s goals for the economic stimulus package, and their long term investment in a new power grid for wind and solar.
Biden said that their economy recovery package is designed to do two things, “One stem the hemorrhaging of the loss of jobs and begin to create new jobs, at the same time we provide continued liquidity for the financial markets. The piece we have been pushing for, Barack and I during the campaign, as you recall is that we need an economic recovery package back in September, October, November.”
Host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that during the campaign Obama called for a $150-$200 billion package, but now the word is that the package might cost $700 billion.
He asked Biden what they have learned. Biden answered, “What we have learned that the economy is in much worse shape than we thought it was in. It is this is a spiraling effect, and what you are seeing now, every economist I have spoken to, from well known economists on the right, conservative economists, to economists on the left and everyone in between says the scope of this package has to be bold it has to be big, but here is how we look at it, anything we put in this economic recovery plan has to be designed to create jobs, stimulate the economy quickly, get jobs moving quickly, and it has to be something that has a long range impact on our economic health.”
Biden used the example of investing in a new smart power grid that could transport wind and solar energy. The vice president elect said that a new grid could create tens of thousands of good paying jobs while at the same time impact the nation’s long term energy future.
He also discussed the difference between creating jobs that add to budget deficit, and job creation that will help lower the budget deficit. He cited the popular cause of converting medical records to an electronic format. Biden said that it will cost money now, but the economy will get back 3-4 times the initial costs.
It is nice to see that the Obama administration has a long term economic plan for how they want to spend a potential new stimulus package. Unlike the $700 billion that has been earmarked for the financial sector, I think this package will be popular with the American people. It is critical that the package provides long term benefits to our economy, not just short term job creation. I think that the U.S. economy is still teetering, and without aggressive action, it could lapse into long term recession.