Nicely written, "Making the Most of our Financial Winter." The novel part:
In every depression the nation has faced, there have been proposals for the government to do just this: increase spending on public improvements to create jobs for the unemployed.
An article in The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, written in 1877, during the 1873-79 depression, argued that the government could create a great many infrastructure jobs. “There are many needed improvements: the construction of the Texas and Pacific Railroad, the widening of the entrances to the Mississippi, the diking of its alluvial blanks, the clearing of obstructions from the beds of the great rivers of the West, the improvement of the harbors and rivers in the East, the completion of the post offices, custom houses, seawalls, breakwaters and other useful works of a national character,” the article said.
Kevin Drum has joined the chorus, with "My Jobs Plan: A Trillion Dollars for Infrastructure:"
All of us have our fantasies about what we'd like President Obama to say in his big speech next week about jobs. Here's mine: ask Congress to appropriate a trillion dollars to be spent on infrastructure upgrades over the next five years. That's it. That's the jobs plan. A trillion dollars to make us into a first-world country again. And as part of the enabling legislation, ask for emergency powers to temporarily streamline the regulatory red tape, interagency approval processes, environmental-impact statements, and labor rules that might otherwise keep the money from being put to work speedily.
There is a crucial connection between potholes and unemployment. America's crumbling infrastructure is eroding America's competitiveness in the global economy by eroding America's ability to attract and retain global corporations and their high-productivity, high-wage jobs.
Michael Likovsky makes the case for an infrastructure bank in this New York Times op-ed earlier this week. Readers of the blog know I've been on something of a crusade for 3.5 years about this, so it's worth taking a look at the proposal. Here's the key excerpt:
A bipartisan bill introduced by senators including John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, seeks a similar but modernized solution: it would create an American Infrastructure Financing Authority to move private capital, now sitting on the sidelines in pension, private equity, sovereign and other funds, into much-needed projects.