NYT columnist: We don't spend enough on long-term investments





President Obama hopes the proposed $800 billion-plus stimulus package can jump-start the economy and lay the groundwork for long-term prosperity. If it doesn't show immediate results, New York Times columnist David Leonhardt says the state of the economy could end up dominating Obama's term.

Some of the current economic trouble is rooted in what Leonhardt calls "investment deficit disorder."

"I think our economy has been far too dependent on consumption over the past couple decades and not dependent enough on investment," he tells NPR's Renee Montagne.

In the 1950s, he says, the government spent the equivalent of about 7 percent of GDP investing in highways, buildings and other infrastructure. But that amount has declined to 4 percent in recent years.

"That's really problematic for the economy," Leonhardt said. "When the government has invested in basic things — like the highway system, like the Internet — the government has a very good record of that. And it's doing a lot less of that."

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