One of the things I find most baffling about our economy is that two of our biggest problems continue to be: 1) Not enough people have jobs; and 2) We have a tremendous amount of work to do rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. How do these two things not cancel each other out? In the depths of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt enacted great public works projects to build out America’s infrastructure. The projects served many purposes: they gave meaningful work to people at a time when unemployment was catastrophically high; they built roads, bridges, dams, and an electrical grid that made our economy more efficient and productive. What followed was an economic boom that lasted for decades.
What Roosevelt recognized was that there was no excuse to allow so many to be unwillingly out of work when there was so much work to be done. The free market was unable to follow through on its promise to ensure that resources, including human capital, were being distributed efficiently. The same holds true today, and so we must follow Roosevelt’s blueprint, which will unleash our full productive capacity and super-charge our economy.
The vast majority of bridges, roads, and dams built as part of the New Deal in the 1930’s haven’t been touched since. Almost all receive failing grades from the Army Corps of Engineers, meaning they are extremely dangerous. At the same time, our electrical grid needs a massive overhaul to allow for the efficient, renewable energy production of the future;many rural areas still lack broadband Internet access, crippling businesses and education alike; and promising new alternative-fuel vehicles lack a robust refueling network, limiting their market penetration to a handful of coastal urban areas.
I support a massive investment in America’s crumbling infrastructure. This investment will not only spur our economy in the short term, as it strengthens a middle class desperately looking for gainful employment, but it will also create a long-term boom as all our business can be carried out more efficiently on safer roads, faster Internet cables, and cheaper electric power. An investment now will payoff ten times down the road, and everyone will share in the growth.
Paid for and Authorized by Ryan Huffman for Congress