Saturday, December 6, 2008

Economic Plan

Key points:

1) It is CC Licensed. That's not part of his plan, but it is hugely important to me... not just because it means I can drop it into my blog. It is important because it means he's taking open government as part of an approach to a free culture.

2) He begins by linking the statistics to the actual social impact of statistics. Thats exactly the sort of empathy and good priority I've always seen in him.

Now the actual plan:

3) Investing in Federal Infrastructure: This stuck out to me as being a little odd for being thrown into the "key points of my economic plan" speech... it saves money, and makes jobs, and I don't doubt its a good and necessary step, but he makes it sound like a priority.

4) Investing in Transportation Infrastructure: This is also clearly necessary, but I'm a little disappointed by the means. Handing money to the states/communities with a "use it/lose it" dictum is a good way to promote use of the money--but it also promotes short-term planning and waste. The National Highway System was a big investment, but it was already centrally planned. Why not a National High-Speed Rail System, like Joe Biden is probably for?

5) Investing in Educational Infrastructure: Well, when I'm coming up with these headlines, these bullet points make a lot more sense than the first time I heard the speech. Anyways, fixing school buildings is great, necessary, and I particularly like the shout-out to the broadband initiative. This, like point 1, means that he's listening to his old friend Lawrence Lessig in all the right ways.

6) Investing in Health Care Infrastructure: This is not part of the overall health care reform, but it is part of it. He's clearly in favor of a single electronic health file that can follow patients wherever they go. And in this moment, he's going to finally piss off civil libertarians who knew he wouldn't be their favorite President, but wanted him more than the wire-tapping/no-Habeas-Corpus Republicans. Privacy, privacy, privacy. I'm also confused as to how Obama will make this practice standardized amongst a whole bunch of independent bodies.

Still, I like what I hear. He is starting on the long process of distilling the word "Change" into a bunch of concrete, actionable reforms. Best of luck to him.