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Posted by on Jan 28, 2009 in Economy | 38 comments

Infrastructure For The Future, Stimulus For Now

Commenter CStanley pointed out this article and said:

Actually, I’d make the case that there should be three separate bills- one would be the short term relief package (increasing disbursements to states for unemployment benefits, for instance), one should be the stimulus for short term job creation/preservation (like those shovel ready infrastructure projects everyone’s talking about and most people agree on), and one should be the long range plan for investments like energy projects.

I agree wholeheartedly. I haven’t heard much about state assistance (if someone has please note what’s been talked about) but many states have run out of unemployment insurance and California will be bankrupt next week; unless something changes they will have to give out IOUs for welfare and tax refunds. This is threatening to be an honest to goodness crisis, and even if those issues are temporarily resolved, we can expect them to get much worse over the coming year and need to have a plan.

I feel that our infrastructure of all types (transportation, energy, informational, educational) is in shambles, and rebuilding it over the next 10-15 years is one of the number one priorities for ensuring a successful America in the decades to come. In no way can it be addressed with a one-off bill, especially one that is so scattershot in its focus. I don’t know anything about the American Society for Civil Engineers, but they claim we will need a $2.2 trillion investment in basic infrastructure over the next five years.

And as AustinRoth pointed out: “And what did the CBO find?: The debt service alone from the stimulus will cost about $347 billion over the next 10 years. As the letter dryly notes: “Such costs are not included in CBO’s cost estimates for individual pieces of legislation and are not counted for Congressional scorekeeping purposes.””

There is absolutely no way that we can run deficits greater than a trillion dollars for many years or else we are going to overburdened just paying back the debt. We are at a crossroads where we must make hard choices and slash large parts of the government that are ineffective or overreaching (cough agricultural subsidies, the drug war and the global military presence come to mind instantly) while reforming the programs that are kept and deciding how much to continue throwing at the financial system. Only then can we talk reasonably about very long term infrastructural plans.