02/17/09 — On the loose ... Keep a close eye on what comes next from Washington

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On the loose ... Keep a close eye on what comes next from Washington

Today is the day that states everywhere are getting their official OK from the federal government that the more than $700 billion stimulus package was not just a dream.

President Barack Obama was expected to sign the long-awaited, and much-argued, measure this afternoon.

There are already concerns with the package. Some states do not think they are getting enough money, while others are not sure that the funds are going to get to the projects in question in time to boost jobs.

But at this point, most everyone feels like someone has to do something -- even if it ends up being less effective than expected.

So now that the money has been apportioned, there are many people who are wondering what is going to happen next -- will there be an employment surge this month, next month -- or maybe even next year.

Some members of the Obama administration are already trying to lessen expectations, suggesting that the country will not see a significant improvement in the economy until 2010.

So what does that mean for the average taxpayer? Is it time to take the money out from underneath the mattress?

The answer is that right now no one really knows what is going to be the magic medicine that will return this economy from stall to full-gear and ready to go. And anyone who says he or she does know definitively is not to be trusted.

So caution remains the name of the game -- in spending, in investing, in planning, in the future.

And while we are being cautious, now is the time to keep a closer eye on all those politicians who are now drunk with power -- and available tax money.

In their zeal to do something, they could conceivably do something that might not necessarily be the smartest expenditure of the windfall they just received.

It is up to us to make sure that does not happen in North Carolina -- and to let our federal representatives know we are watching them, too.

Everyone wants the economy back on track. That is a no-brainer. But throwing money at a problem -- or not paying too close attention to where money is going -- results in bad decision-making.

And we certainly cannot afford any more of that.

Published in Editorials on February 17, 2009 10:36 AM