Here are two things that can be done right away to help the economy:
Republican economist Douglas Holtz-Eaken says one thing we can do right away is repurpose wireless spectrum:
For this reason, as a part of the 2009 National Broadband Plan, the Federal Communications Commission is working towards making 500 megahertz of additional spectrum available over the next decade, 300 megahertz of which will be made available by 2014. The government, however, remains embroiled in the process of developing a plan to repurpose spectrum from its current uses for wireless broadband.
The benefits of additional wireless capacity are widespread. The FCC estimates that releasing an additional 275 MHz of spectrum by 2014 will save carriers in excess of $120 billion in capital costs. According to former Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers “total surplus from expanding wireless [is] estimated to be $40 to $50 billion every year.” The High Tech Spectrum Association estimates that additional investments in 4G wireless technologies will create 205,000 jobs in the next five years.
Another thing we can do right away is use the GSEs to rent foreclosed homes. From Nick Timiraos:
The Obama administration is examining ways to pull foreclosed properties off the market and rent them to help stabilize the housing market, according to people familiar with the matter.
While the plans may not advance beyond the concept phase, they are under serious consideration by senior administration officials because rents are rising even as home prices in many hard-hit markets continue to fall due to high foreclosure levels.
Trimming the glut of unsold foreclosed homes on the market is “worth looking at,” said Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in testimony to Congress last week.