I’ve seen lots of proposals on how to accelerate our economic recovery, but I haven’t seen any investment tax credit proposals. Maybe there are some out there, but I haven’t seen them.
The idea has merit, and now might be a good time to implement it. Business investment has been extraordinarily weak for a long time now. Businesses may be feeling the lack of investment, but they are unwilling to invest now, because of uncertainty about the recovery. A tax credit might be just what is needed to push some of them into investing. It would also encourage hiring. Capital and labor are compliments. More capital would improve the productivity of labor, reducing the cost of hiring.
Certainly, it would be better to run a deficit to fund investment than continue the existing program of funding current consumption with deficits. This policy would imply a higher steady-state level of future capital stock than with the current policy, with greater future productive capacity. The higher future capital stock means the economy would have more resources available for consumption, further investment, or (heaven forbid) paying down debt.