It’s the bad economy version of an old-fashioned swap meet. But instead of swapping toasters for saws, this newfangled swap meet would find people exchanging household debt for commitments to community service, national infrastructure and alternative energy development.
The idea was put forward last week in a column by Nicholas F. Benton in the Falls Church (Virgnina) News-Press.
“Such a program,” Benton wrote, “would not only help stabilize the banking system, but it would offer direct relief to the debt and mortgage-crushed American public, serving as a form of economic stimulus focused on the middle class. It would address the anticipated major growth in unemployment numbers, relieve foreclosure pressures and at the same time help in the effort to refocus the nation’s economic priorities toward new domestic development.”
Benton’s plan would use a clearinghouse mechanism to enable Americans the chance to pay off student loans and other debts by signing up for a full- or part-time role in a national community service agency, “hopefully utilizing their best skills and expertise in a constructive way to augment the domestic economy.”
Benton has presented his idea to key political leaders in Northern Virginia, and he says it was greeted with “considerable enthusiasm.”
Read it here and see what you think.