NY Times columnist Robert H. Frank supports the Obama administrations $50 billion 9/5/2010 proposal for an "Infastructure Renewal Bank" in which local and state governments could borrow money from the Federal government to repair and rebuild roads, sewers and other infastructure.
Mr. Frank reports that the large Federal stimulus spending is being undercut and eroded by cuts in jobs and improvements by cash-strapped cities, towns, counties and states. (Recently, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the state capital, announced that it was bust and would need millions from the state coffers just to provide ongoing basic services – see earlier posts in this blog for posts about this event).
Insomuch as the Federal government might spend, the cities, towns, counties and states contract in their spending so that there is essentially little or no net positive extra spending, says Mr. Frank.
Mr. Franks writes: "Europe spends about 5 percent of its annual gross domestic product on infastructure, while China spends about 9 percent, according to (information from the) American Society of Civil Engineers. In the United States, which spends less than 2.5%, chronically deferred maintenance has left the infastructure in dangerously substandard condition. More than 25% of the nation’s bridges, for example, were structurally deficient or obsolete in 2007, according to the Federal Highway Administration. … 4,404 dams were unsafe or deficient in 2008 That was up from 4,095 in 2007 and 3,500 in 2005."
Mr. Frank suggest that we spend the money to build/repair infastructure for the future, and thus stimulate the economy at the same time.
IDEAS FOR ACTION: Find out if your local dam is structually insufficient. If so, then consider moving to a safer location if you are in the path of the potential floodwaters! Second, perhaps seek training and education in the concrete and ironwork industries if you are looking for a career change or boost. Thoughts are cement truck driver, surveyor, concrete cutting, demolition, excavation and general concrete and construction laborer. If you have construction/transportation skills in these areas, do not become discouraged. If you have construction labor experience consider joining a gym to keep yourself in good physical condition; your skills may be in demand once again if the Obama "Infastructure Renewal Bank" becomes a reality and you want to offer the strength and stamina to keep up with the job demands when you are called back to work.
I enclose a link here to Mr. Frank’s 9/12/10 article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/business/economy/12view.html?scp=2&sq=&st=nyt