1) From the private sector: We don’t need stimulus we need credit. Banks simply wont lend. While the process of correcting bank balance sheets is underway, that same process must occur in small and medium sized business before any turnaround can occur. In my largest company’s case, our banks have been failing gradually, and we have been cost cutting, not because of decline in profitability, but because of decline in borrowing capacity, and an inability to find new banks willing to lend. About 20% of the work force was affected. In the other company I own, we are experiencing similar problems.
2) We need an area of growth that creates opportunity, and we need it in an area where we can CREATE DEMAND by innovating (taking risks by trial and error). Demand is not simply naturally derived from abstract confidence, it is created by investment, risk, promotion, advertising, and sales. People consume according to stimuli and status attainment. But they have to be aware of opportunities for stimuli and status attainment. And we must constantly develop new products to inspire them to work, risk, borrow and spend. The government is not stimulating anything that will help us CREATE demand. For example, building power plants, or a new power grid, which reduce costs and allow us to compete by discounted power cost rather than discounted labor cost. It is creating further expenditure requiring infrastructure. This is of course, a temporary fix, that is a long term drain on the economy. Instead, stimulate the creation of opportunities. Or at least, understand that there are a minimum of three classes 1) banking and finance, 2) entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists, and 3) clerks, laborers and craftspeople, and that stimulus generally helps the first and the last, but the middle is where the job creation comes from. And fundamentally, the entrepreneur cannot borrow today. Entrepreneurs, while often called capitalists are rarely possessed of a lot of capital. They are possessed of the ability to unite capital, knowledge and resources (including labor) in pursuit of opportunity for mutual gain.
3) Fixing the problem of an incalculable economy (loss of consumer confidence because of decrease in anticipated opportunities, and therefore disincentive to risk money and credit) is repaired most easily by having the government fund banks to buy back depreciation in home prices, and refinance those new homes, preserving the equity of the homeowner. THis would return to government (the treasury) the accountability for their actions in flooding the economy with unproductive credit, and the resulting distortionary prices.. This one policy enactment (which a number of us tried to promote in the spring of 08) would have the most efficient and quickest effect on changing consumer confidence because it can occur fast enough that the stickiness of wages and prices can correct. Countering uncertainty requires acting on debt reduction (home balance sheets) faster than the contracts (wages and prices) can be renegotiated in the private sector, which is a collection of promises and agreements and habits between individuals.
Of course, the old argument is this: everyone wants to use stimulus to build roads because they require unskilled labor, and therefore have an immediate effect on the least flexible people in the economy. But these roads have to be maintained perpetually, and high cost, and generally are not. When, planes on the other hand cause the opposite reaction.
Then the question becomes, not just one of redistribution, or debt, but urgency, and motivating all of the productive classes of finance, entrepreneurship and labor, to work together. Not focusing on just one or another, but all three. This is one of the other failures of the bias that comes from overemphasis of monetary policy: forgetting that we have to move all three classes of people in order to stimulate the economy.