Links – Stimulus Package

Paul Krugman takes note of Joe Biden’s recently souring perceptions of the economy, as well as the fact that it appears another stimulus package would be a nice boost right about now:

But never mind the hoocoodanodes and ayatollahyaseaux. What’s important now is that we don’t compound the understimulus mistake by adopting what Biden seems to be proposing — namely, a wait and see approach. Fiscal stimulus takes time. If we wait to see whether round one did the trick, round two won’t have much chance of doing a lot of good before late 2010 or beyond.

So, we have to spend money right now.  Hmmmmm.  If only we had something in this country that needed lots and lots of money…

There’s a power drain out there at the NSA.  Apparently those code-breaking supercomputers require a whole lot of juice.  Aside from the security reasons for decentralizing operations like this (which is certainly not a new idea amongst the Feds), it’s an interesting idea to think about the consequences of decentralizing more ‘abstract’ facilities like data centers while still opening the door for centralization of personnel and employment.

They put a price on congestion in New York.  Charles Kamonoff pegs it at $160 per trip.  Felix Salmon’s early conclusion:

Komanoff’s still working on this spreadsheet, but tHe main message is pretty clear — that smart congestion charging would be great news for New York, and probably for most other dense cities as well.

AC chimes in as well:

The basic point is sound:  we severely underestimate how many people we delay when we enter a congested network of roads.  If you’ve ever tried to make the trip crosstown Manhattan in the middle of the day, you understand just how much delay one driver can cause.

Komanoff recommends congestion pricing.  A good idea.  But he also proposes making buses free, which is a bad idea (and one floated in Austin occasionally).

I tend to agree that completely free transit is a bad idea.  We have congestion on our system in DC as it is at the peak hours.  There’s something to be said for the psychology behind charging a nominal fee for a service.

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