Thanks, Mr. President
September 7, 2010 10:36 AM
I spent the Labor Day weekend visiting relatives in the Twin Cities. Monday's Star Tribune reported that the Minneapolis mayor has to propose cutting police officers and firefighters in order to repair his city's streets. You can read the story at http://www.startribune.com/local/102269349.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU
Mayors shouldn't have to make those kinds of choices between public safety and fixing potholes. That's why President Obama's announcement yesterday in Milwaukee that he is proposing an infrastructure bank is such good news. The nation has about $2.2 trillion in backlogged infrastructure needs. I recently became part of a group of governors and mayors pushing for just the kind of infrastructure investment the president is now proposing.
The $50 billion first installment in the bank could come as early as this year. It'll go to fix roads and bridges, expand rail systems and other forms of transit and rebuild aging airport runways. There are, of course, the usual howls about deficit spending from the usual sources. But this isn't deficit spending; it's investing in our future. It's paying forward on projects that will need to be done at some point anyway. Let's do it now when workers need the jobs, the economy needs the boost and interest rates are at their lowest.
This is just the needed second round of stimulus that our lagging economy needed. Over the weekend, when not catching the Twins game or visiting Minneapolis' new public market, I was reading the New York Times. Paul Krugman had two excellent columns. One explained that the worst fears of opponents of the first round of stimulus never appeared (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/03/opinion/03krugman.html?_r=1&ref=paulkrugman) while the other discussed the mistakes of 1938 when a retreat from stimulating the economy resulted in prolonging the Great Depression (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/06/opinion/06krugman.html?ref=paulkrugman).