by GREG RUSSAK
The Economics and Patriotism of Infrastructure Jobs Programs
America’s crumbling infrastructure is both a safety hazard and a drag on our economy that is projected to only get worse. If we’re going to tackle the really big challenges of government budgets, deficits, debts, and the economy, then every citizen must understand the realities of what a deteriorating infrastructure means to this country. We then need to demand that our elected leaders stand strong against austerity and, instead, do whatever it takes – including raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy – to improve our infrastructure.
Properly-funded federal and state infrastructure improvement jobs programs would produce immediate and lasting benefits, including but not limited to:
1) Putting large numbers of Americans back to work in good paying middle class jobs which would immediately boost the economy from the bottom up (since trickledown economics has proven to, once again, be an unmitigated and disastrous failure)
2) Making all of us safer and less vulnerable to infrastructure inefficiencies, failures, or acts of terrorism
3) Demonstrating to American companies and to the world a sense of patriotism that includes spending public funds on the infrastructure that is so vital to our economic and commercial success
Putting patriotism and safety issues aside for the moment (although I don’t know why we should), the sheer impact to our economy and our own selfish financial interests are at stake. This is usually motivation enough for most Americans to demand action from our politicians.
I think it ought to be more than just self interest. Americans have become the experts at professing their patriotism at every opportunity. We’re known the world over for our self-proclaimed exceptionalism. It’s why I believe that we ought to be thinking about and talking about funding the repair and expansion of our infrastructure as one of the most truly patriotic things we can do for ourselves and our country.
First, the economics. Math, after all, doesn’t require an emotional investment or belief system. It just is. [MORE]