Prescription Stimulants

Friday, February 13, 2009


Among those who disagree with the particulars of the stimulus plan is a public policy group called Free Press, which said that 44 billion dollars should be allocated to broadband internet alone to get us competitive with the rest of the developed world, as opposed to the six billion now in the bill. Slate columnist Farhad Manjoo wrote about the tech infrastructure wish list and what he would do.

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Comments [3]

L.J. Strayer from Brooklyn, NY

As Rick's post shows, there are big questions about whether government tech investments can be effective given corporate agendas and the government's poor record with recent projects. However, as Candidate Obama discussed during the campaign, reinvigorating America's tradition of tech innovation is essential to building long-term economic stability and growth -- and part of doing that, historically, has been a commitment to funding high-risk research and implementation projects.

Over the last 50 years, public support for government tech investment and private support for innovators like Bell Labs fell victim to market forces, helping create today's economic crisis. The lack of investment in big infrastructures -- like mass transit, healthcare systems, the census process and broadband -- means those infrastructures have not just stagnated but deteriorated. We're now faced with the difficult problem of playing catch-up; and with the high rate of tech obsolescence, implementing small solutions will only maintain those infrastructures, without moving them or the economy forward.

The best defense is a good offense.

Feb. 15 2009 11:29 AM
Rick Evans

"The article reminded me of the true but facetious statement: "90% of all statistics are made up on the spot."

Jeff Moylan can you point to the peer reviewed published study(ies) that support the assertion of your TRUTH that 90% of statistics are made up on the spot?

Farhad Marnjoo might not have given numbers to his qualitative assertions however he was quite specific about failed FBI, IRS and Census Bureau information technology upgrades.

I'm not a government basher however there is evidence that throwing billions of dollars at big low bidder projects entails a lot of risk of failure. Of course if your only goal is economic stimulation failure might be an option :-)

A final thoughts I'm rather skeptical of Barack Obama's belief that conversion to electronic medical records will result in better health care and lowered medical costs. To make the records electronic they will have to be transcribed. Compatible systems will have to talk to each other. Doctors, typically resistant to imposed change will have to adopt the use. The geeks will have to resist the impulse to show off newly acquired skills and build non-buggy systems.

More likely vendors will squabble over standards, use incompatibility as a competetive tool, low ball bid. If the system comes to fruition doctors, hospitals, pharmacists, and insurers will game to the system to fatten profits and continue health care's double digit inflation spiral.

Feb. 15 2009 08:12 AM
Jeff Moylan from New Hampshire

Please pay more attention to the editing of your segments. In the tech segment featuring an interview with Farhad Marnjoo, the supposed techspert continually used terms such as 'many, most of, the majority of, for the most part, and lots of', etc, without qualifying or quantifying his assertions. Brooke Gladstone failed to obtain facts or specificity from him and merely accepted his claims. The article reminded me of the true but facetious statement: "90% of all statistics are made up on the spot."
Thank you

Feb. 14 2009 03:27 PM

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