Editorial: It won't hurt to wait a bit longer
As economic signs of recovery begin to mark a pattern of modest consistency, the time arrives for Americans to encourage that elusive rebound in what may be the best way possible, at least temporarily - to wait.
The president this past month proposed a new economic stimulus to - as we have become accustomed to hearing - create jobs, confront deficits and ail a wobbly economy. Capitol Hill estimates a potential jobs bill to cost between $75 billion and $150 billion.
At the same time, the Congressional Budget Office estimates federal spending will increase 24 percent in the new year - the largest increase since 1952. The White House further forecasts $9 trillion in additional debt over the next decade.
Yet as unemployment continues to hover in double-digits, the proposed stimulus programs would keep unemployment insurance from expiring for millions of out-of-work Americans, and help laid-off workers keep their health insurance. The bill would ease the suffering for Americans now at a cost of staggering national debt in the future.
"At least the president's proposal will result in one new job - he'll need to hire a magician to make this new deficit spending appear fiscally responsible," said Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio declared the president "out of ideas and out of touch."
We hardly consider laid-off workers who are desperate to find employment regarding future national deficits less important than putting food on the table tonight, paying mortgage bills tomorrow, and picking up prescriptions the next day "out of touch."
However, some positive seeds of growth and confidence are worth watering with time and prudent patience. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 10 percent for November, a slight improvement on October's 10.2 percent. Eleven-thousand jobs were lost, the "best" reading since December 2007.
The Fed is cautiously deferring an increase in interest rates. And while analysts believe no real global recovery will take place until the U.S. housing market stabilizes, Joe Robson, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, said in December: "The fact that both starts and permits for new housing production rose last month is a good sign that we're headed in the right direction, albeit slowly, on the road to a housing recovery."
Hold the government spending at least one more quarter. Waiting and seeing is equally beneficial to American welfare.