The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation has introduced an IT stimulus package (pdf) that would put $10 billion each into broadband, health IT, and the smart power grid, creating an estimated 949,000 jobs, more than half of which would be in small businesses. The stimulus package would have enormous societal impact as well. Along with the direct creation of new jobs, the stimulus package would create a network effect (the indirect and induced creation of jobs), and lead to higher productivity, competitiveness and quality of life. Investment in broadband “will spur improvements in educational outcomes, reduce the relative growth of vehicles miles traveled, and have a wide range of other societal benefits.”  Investment in broadband would also increase America’s relatively low broadband penetration and coverage. Studies indicate that regions with broadband access have faster job growth than those who don’t.

The U.S. lags behind other countries in the widespread implementation of health IT due to its privatized medical system. Investment in health IT could lead to higher-quality and lower-cost health care, thanks to e-prescribing, rapid-learning systems that quickly spot drug side effects, electronic health records (EHRs), and the harnessing of paper-based data.

Investment in the smart power grid will save significant energy and lessen carbon dependence and pollution. “The smart grid will enable a host of societal benefits including lowering peak demand and the associated costs, enabling the greater use of clean energy, and providing electricity more reliably. Moreover, the smart grid will enable the use of new technologies including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, distributed generation, and energy storage solutions,” says the ITIF.

“The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation is a non-partisan research and educational institute – a think tank – whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington and in the states.”

By Mark Alvarez