Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Don’t Postpone Fixing the Economy

A few voices are calling for a slowdown in Washington’s efforts to fix the structural flaws in the economy. The economy is too weak right now, they say. Shouldn’t we wait until it is in better shape before we change it all around?

Perhaps a few things could wait. But for many of the things that need to be fixed — health care financing, energy consumption, the balance of trade, the derivatives mess, and many others — the economy won’t recover unless fixes are made.

The call for delay is like the people who say, “I want to exercise more, but won’t it be easier if I wait until after I lose weight?” It is true that being overweight makes exercise more difficult, but if you wait until you lose the extra weight before you start to exercise, it could be a very long wait.

I’m not suggesting that we rush through a haphazard restructuring of the eoonomy. But we need to start now and make careful fixes in key trouble spots to give the economy a chance to come back.