The Joe Scarborough Stimulus: $2 Trillion on Light-Rail and Energy Development

Remember that $787-billion stimulus passed last year, the one that was supposed to keep unemployment from hitting double digits by invigorating a new green economy?  Well it hasn’t exactly worked.


Conventional wisdom would suggest not trying it again. Based on the nearly 10 percent unemployment, it’s obvious Keynesian economic policies, where the government is a major force in an economy, don’t work. However, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough made the case for an even bigger trip down that route.


“We talked about Sputnik at the event we did last year,” Scarborough said. “I wrote in my book last year that Sputnik was the moment that Eisenhower, a Republican, leaned forward and created a new generation of engineers, a new generation of scientists. That led to the Mercury program, the Apollo program, a man walking on the moon and the Internet. Can we make that type of, again, long-term investment?”


Scarborough, a former member of Congress from Pensacola, Fla., said were he still a voting member and if government money were put in the appropriate places, he’d have voted not only for a stimulus of those proportions, but one more than double that. And as for those appropriate places? Light rail and energy development.


“The reason I didn't like the stimulus bill, and I’ve said it all along, if you had come to me with a $2-trillion stimulus bill and said we're going to build light rail across the country,” Scarborough said. “This is going to be focused on next generation of energy development. I’d had said, ‘OK that sounds like an investment. But those type of bills are impossible to pass in America today, aren't they? Forget the deficit and the debt aside.”


So if they were to build light rail in Pensacola, they would come, Joe? Studies have been done about why people don’t use public transportation – often the economics of it don’t make sense for individuals. But assuming the economics were right, would the American public really be up to another government-run mass transit bureaucracy as major municipalities have to deal with, in addition to the failures that have plagued rail-providers like Amtrak?


Still, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who argued the passage of ObamaCare was a major foreign policy win for the administration in his April 21 column, said if the country doesn’t adopt initiatives like this, it will find a way to be done.

“You've got to understand, what is our real competitive advantage as a country,” Friedman said. “I believe we're in a world – I kind of two rules about the flat world. Rule number one is when the world is flat, whatever can be done will be done. The only question is will it be done by you or to you? OK, just don't think it won't be done. When the world is this flat, this many people have tools of creativity, it will be done.”


And the second part of that, as Friedman explained – it is easier to be an entrepreneur now with all the technological advances.


“The second rule is the most important competition going forward is actually between you and your own imagination,” Friedman continued. “Why is that? Because what you imagine, what your son imagines now, he can act on father, faster, deeper, cheaper than ever before as an individual. Therefore, what do we need as a country? Today, everything is a commodity. If I come up with an idea on this show, man I can get a factory in Taiwan to design it another one in China to manufacture it, I can get Amazon to sell it and I can get to design my low logo. There’s only one thing we got left, and it’s the most important thing – it's that, sparking the ideas.”