Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Thanks, Dr. Obama: The Right Prescription for America

Today, the Obama transition team unveiled a massive public works program as a national economic stimulus. For the first time really since the Great Depression, we will invest heavily in rebuilding our infrastructure. This was the base of spending in the 1930s that we relied on for sixty years thereafter. Eisenhower followed with building the interstates in the 1950s. In the 1960s, there was a further explosion of public expenditures on universities, libraries, schools, and parks that built on earlier efforts. Unfortunately, the Republican efforts in the 1980s and 1990s to scale back government meant cannibalizing capital expenditure budgets and allowing infrastructure to crumble. Now our schools are dilapidated, our universities are increasingly inadequate, our roads are crumbling, our bridges are (in Minnesota) literally falling down. Saving a few bucks for rich taxpayers in the 1980s will cost us hundreds of billions now.

This will set our country on the right footing for the 21st century. From beautiful Hoover Dam, to the TVA, to the Golden Gate Bridge, and to sidewalks all around US streets bearing the proud stamp of the WPA, the large infrastructure effort of the 1930s employed millions of people. It provided enough economic support to the working class to begin to re-establish demand.

It also made terrific things. Roosevelt brought electricity to rural areas for the first time, since private power companies would not pay to string wire long distances at great expense for relatively few customers. Dams, roads, bridges, and university buildings were constructed everywhere. And what's more, the construction of that period was done with great civic pride, with a sense of beauty. So many of the trails and roads in national parks were built in this time period.

This national effort during the Great Depression made it possible for democracy and capitalism to weather the political winds of fascism and socialism that took down so much of the rest of the world. I am very excited by this, and I have been talking about this kind of effort for years. This is terrific for the Midwest in particular, where state budgets have been decimated and a large skilled blue-collar workforce needs employment. We really, really need to do this. For the first time in a very long time, we need a government that can Think Big and Act Big. At last we're going to get it.


Dr. Strangelove said...

One excellent feature of the plan is that it would give money to the states (which claim to have over $136 billion in projects waiting to go). This would make control of the projects more local than a pure federal program, and also frees up state tax dollars to deal with local deficits, without hurting education and other local priorities.

And it will still be way cheaper than the Paulson bailouts or the Bush wars.

Raised By Republicans said...

This is good news. If we are going to go into debt to weather this economic storm of the century, it is best to go into debt funding things that will generate economic activity and revenue in the future. This is preferable to use debt to fund more consumption now.

And like I sad in an earlier post it is good that we are doing this now instead of after 3 more years of economic crisis (as Hoover's continued Presidency forced us to do back in the 30's).

Anonymous said...

I think an important part of all of this is whether the projects are going to be subject to federal Davis-Bacon requirements regarding paying prevailing wage. For example, all of the rebuilding done after Katrina was exempted from DB requirements.
If DB is not required for Obama's big projects and instead left to states to determine wages, that may be a problem given that only a few states have "little Davis-Bacon" statutes. An asymmetrical work force may result if CA pays prevailing wage and AZ chooses not to. Or even worse, CA chooses to exempt prevailing wage to compete for federal $$$.

USwest said...

I also think that the WPA projects made people feel proud of themselves and their nation. And just that alone will increase confidence and perhaps lead to a better economic situation. When people are proud, they invest themselves for reasons beyond money. That is a very big deal.

We've been told for too long to spend our cash, that savings is for suckers, and that the almighty dollar is king. Now the message is, "let's all dig in and get our nails dirty and our hands grimmy."

This will be a welcome change.

Anonymous makes a good point.Not sure what the nitty gritty details are yet. But I am sure they are considering that.