The Tragedy of America's Woeful Infrastructure Spending

In light of dismal jobs reports and a lending environment in which the U.S. is "paying better rates than when George Washington was running unopposed for the presidency," Jordan Weissmann rants about the country's lack of infrastructure spending.
June 7, 2012, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Even with stimulus funding included, public construction spending in the United States, including state, federal and local projects, "has been on a staggered decline since early 2009," notes Weissmann. With last week's report that the construction industry shed an additional 28,000 jobs in May (adding to the million plus unemployed construction workers), it's no wonder Weissmann is miffed by America's "psychotic" lack of spending on the estimated $2 trillion in necessary infrastructure improvements.

What about the deficit you ask? According to Weissmann, "Dick Cheney is right here: The deficit doesn't really matter in this case."

"Most infrastructure spending is not really optional. You either fix the roads, or they fall apart. Perhaps disastrously...And unless you believe that we're going to miraculously eliminate the entire deficit in the near future, we're going to have to borrow that money at some point. We might as well do it while the financial markets are paying us for the privilege."

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Published on Monday, June 4, 2012 in The Atlantic
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