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Volume XVII, Issue 10 - March 5 - March 11, 2009
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Letter From the Editor

We’re the Americans this
Recovery Act is Reinvesting in

What do you do with the half a foot of snow that’s upholding March’s leonine reputation — while throwing a cold, wet blanket on our longings for spring?

Make it into memories, if you’re of the sledding and snow-family-making age. Make it into muscles, if you’ve got to shovel to get out of the house or out of the driveway. Make it into metaphors, if your business is words.

You see what’s coming.

Billions and trillions of flakes surrounded me on three sides March 1. Warm inside a windowy room, I imagined them the billions and trillions of dollars released by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. If I were Washington Post editorial cartoonist Tom Toles, I’d draw Barack Obama on high, shaking out feathery dollar signs from an overstuffed down comforter.

It’s fun to let your imagination go, and that’s one of the things a snowy day is good for.

It’s also urgent that we imagine how to make something out of what we’ve got. Because big and bold as it is, the stimulus isn’t magic. It’s only going to work if we take it in hand — and to heart.

As we write inside, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is here and now, about to burst open like the March 1 snowstorm.

The Washington politicians and thinkers have stuffed the clouds with dollars. Maryland politicians — and their brethren across the country — are standing outside with big basins ready to catch the monetary precipitation. Their stimulus-spending plans are already made, shovel-ready as the term goes, because the clouds are opening now, not later, and if you’re not ready, opportunity will melt away.

But this snowstorm of dollars isn’t falling on politicians alone. It’s going to fall on you and me, too, starting before March retreats in lamb’s guise. One way or another, as you’ll read in the story Feeling Better, stimulus money is likely to come into your hands, touching you as intimately and universally as the snow.

What are you going to make of it?

Are you going to go to college? Now’s the time to learn your way into a new future. It’s the time because you don’t have forever, in your own life cycle. And you don’t have forever in the stimulus life cycle to claim $2,500 in education tax credits.

How about that Recovery Rebate on your taxes? The little bit more you’ll see in your paycheck as your taxes lighten isn’t a fortune. But it’s enough to do something. The Recovery and Reinvestment Act writers hope you’ll spend it, stimulating the economy. Many Americans say they’ll use it to pay off debt. What’s more important, maybe, than how you spend it is that you use it consciously, with determination to make something extraordinary out of opportunity that will never come again — and will melt as quickly as snow.

This week, climate scientist Ricky Rood writes about his lesson from snow. The lesson I’m taking, and offering you, is that we’re the Americans, you and I, this Recovery Act is reinvesting in. Take it to heart and hand. Get stimulated.

       Sandra Olivetti Martin
     editor and publisher


© COPYRIGHT 2009 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.