Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Saturday, October 22, 2016

A new chart from BCA Research illustrates exactly how sharply government infrastructure spending has collapsed over the past decade:

Infrastructure Spending

As the economists who made the chart explained to FT Alphaville:

In the five and ten years ended 2012, real government non-defense investment in structures declined at annualized rates of 3.3 percent and 2.4 percent respectively (Chart 6). We include state and local governments in this measure because they account for three-quarters of government non-defense capital spending, heavily financed by federal grants.

The sharp decline in infrastructure spending is not due to a lack of need — the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a D+ on its 2013 report card — but due to Congress’ dogmatic refusal to approve new spending programs. Contrary to their protests, however, new investments in infrastructure could actually reduce the nation’s long-term debt burden by dealing with the problems now — while interest rates are incredibly low — instead of waiting for them to worsen (and become more expensive) in the future.

President Obama has proposed creating a national infrastructure bank and requested billions in funding to repair the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges, electrical grids, and other infrastructure. Thus far, Congress has refused to act.

Photo: Travis Estell via Flickr

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Elisabeth Gordon

    We can only hope that the bass turds in Congress that refuse to act are all on the same bridge when it collapses into the Potomac.

  • charleo1

    What conclusions then, should we make about the Republican, and T-Party politicians, who evidently don’t believe in investments in their own Country. But
    fight, tooth and nail to protect tax loopholes, subsidies, and even zero tax contributions for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations. Who then repay their Government’s generosity, by investing heavily in emerging markets overseas. While here in their own Country, they use their tax windfalls, courtesy of Uncle Sam, and millions of other tax payers much further down the pay scale. To buy back stock, increase market share by buying out competitors, pay their top management big salaries, and stock options. For the record profits the company is enjoying, mainly by consolidation, downsizing, cutting wages and hours, and raising prices on their newly acquired customers, who suddenly have little choice but to do business with them. I call this phenomenon, the Republicans poor house for the Middle Class. Because, not only is our Government forgoing the revenues needed to invest in the roads, bridges, railways, ports, and transportation. But, it’s not realizing any return on investments through the tax code, directed almost exclusively at the top echelons of the investor class. In fact, it has been just this kind of Government investment, that has encouraged the flight of investment dollars out of the Country. Corporations receive the same operational tax breaks for moving out of the Country, as they would for expanding their businesses in the Country. Which makes no sense, unless you’re a Republican politician, and the corporation you work for is your boss. Then, the goal is just to reduce the taxes, and let the Country crumble down. And tell the Middle Class to go suck an egg.

    • Michael Kollmorgen

      The people who are going to suffer the most is the young in the future.

      I’m an old many, 64 years old. My time now is limited. But, as our infrastructure crumbles, decays, those who are young now will be older and won’t be able to trust any bridge they may cross over, our highways will not be in any decent shape, dams will break and with that all the horrors of past floods will happen all over again.

      I’m happy to say i don’t have any kids to worry about their futures. If I did have a family, we’d get the hell out of this country faster than greased lightening. Sooner the better!

      Take some serious advice – get out as soon as possible or you might not be able to get out at all.

      • charleo1

        Yes, I agree with you! Except the part about 64 being old. Just think
        of it as a number. Tell yourself you’re as young as you feel. Deny,
        Deny, Deny! This will hold you in good stead, up to a natural point,
        of course. Only then, may you turn and face the facts. But you’re
        dead by then, and you won’t care! But as to this flat out refusal to
        make investments in our own Country, is where this nihilism, and
        cynicism, could actually cripple the Country indefinitely. If things don’t change away from this idea that Government, especially the Federal Government, has no role, or responsibility for the well being of the Country, beyond just the defense of the Country in a military sense. America very well could find itself looking much like Eastern Europe, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Fractured, and even,
        ungovernable. Already some States are flirting with nullification.
        We must get back to the common sense position that the Federal
        Government has a role, and responsibility to set minimum standards, and regulations. And to inspect, and enforce those rules to make sure all businesses in any particular industry, are playing by the same rules. To protect the public from the worst practices of those cheat. While protecting the integrity of the industry itself. So the vast majority of those honest business owners do not get painted with the same broad brush as the few bad apples. Lately, as you are aware, there had been this contention from the Right, who actually do represent the people with the controlling interest in an enterprise.
        Management, as opposed to the rank, and file labor. That the Federal Government is treading on what should be State’s Rights. Which only makes sense, if the goal is to corrupt, or control the government that has regulatory authority. The case coming down to, it is far cheaper to buy a State Government, than a Federal one. But, this mentality in the end, is a terrible policy, that sets up a race to the bottom between States. Who now must compete to allow the greatest leeway to the business entity, to pollute, or be dishonest, or, shirk their tax obligations to the people of that State. Who do absolutely have a Right to expect a payment from those businesses using the infrastructure, and public facilities, built and paid for with their tax dollars. This is why when President Obama made the point, that businesses were never built entirely by the owners themselves. That they also used the public roads, and all the rest. Well, this was looked upon by this, “creation,” or whatever the traditional Conservatives have morphed into, as complete heresy. Where on Earth did this Socialist, in Chief get the idea businesses have obligations beyond their own interests to the communities where they conduct their business? I can’t believe we as a Country endorse this. What I do think it is an idea so, out there, so incredulous, that most Americans are just now getting their heads around what these people are really talking about.

      • idamag

        I have a friend, 86-years-old, who golfs three times a week in the summer. She hooks up the trailer (by herself) that pulls her motorized golf cart and heads for the greens. She services her own sprinkler system. She joins a group of us for lunch a couple times a week. Her house is spotless and she hires no domestic help. Her son does mow her lawn. She still drives, both on the links and her automobile. She has a positive attitude and is fun to be with.

        • Michael Kollmorgen

          Idamag & Charlie1;

          Hey, I’m not saying I’m gonna kick off anytime soon. All I was saying is that my time is limited, who knows for how long.

          The point I was really trying to make is that the young are the real power brokers. They are the ones who can take the time to make changes that we need, or at least for their own survival. And, this is what this is all about – survival. This has nothing to do with patriotism.

          Regardless, I think anyone with common sense should seriously think of moving to another country and start over again, especially the young since they can adapt a lot quicker to changing situations, in particular one that important.

          Many of the young, say in Ohio where I live, are doing exactly that. They don’t stay here, they move to another state. The smart ones with solid careers and families leave entirely. This especially true in our scientific community.

          And, I don’t blame them. When I was much younger, in my 20s, I thought of moving to Canada and almost did. I did live in Florida, Arizona and California (worst mistake I ever made was moving back to Ohio from California).

          Yes, the young can fight that good(?) fight. As you get older, it become impossible or dam near so. You take less chances and risk. You can recover when your young, not so when your older.

          Just broaden your horizons and think of greater possibilities, a better way of life. There is really no need to keep tolerating this crap in this country every single freaking day and get old before your time. Money isn’t everything. Money can’t buy you happiness.

          You’re very likely going to think back 40 years from now and wish you had. The way this country is heading, you certainly will.

          Take it from someone who almost made that change. Get the hell out of here. Believe me, don’t stay here – it’s not worth it.

          • plc97477

            The youth are the salvation of our country. The young people are more tolerant of others and more liberal in their thinking. As more young people enter the voting age I think we are going to see some real positive changes.