If done properly, public works spending could save nation from economic collapse

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  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    April 3, 2012 6:46 a.m.

    Public works projects help the economy in the long run only if they are needed. For example the Hoover Dam helps provide water and electricity. It has paid for itself economically many times over.

    As a negative example, if a bridge is built to nowhere, and therefore doesn't get much use, this bridge will not pay for itself economically.

    The key to making infrastructure projects pay for themselves is to build there where they are needed.

    What I have said is almost obvious I would think, but given the fact that this article had to be written and judging from some of the comments, apparently what I am saying here is news to some.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 2, 2012 8:22 a.m.

    Just a couple of macro comments to Invisible hand. First of all your bias that private capital is spent wisely vs. the unwise spending of government spending tells me either you have never worked in private industry or at least haven't paid attention. Private industry can simply cover up their wasteful spending by passing the costs on or profits alone will cover the sins, but private industry waste is every bit as prevelant as government waste.

    Secondly, your statement that government simply doesn't have the expertise to be effective is very uninformed. The education and expertise in the public sector is every bit as professional as that in the private sector. It's simply when they make mistakes they are obvious to the whole world and the consequences can't be hidden in an opaque bureaucracy.

    Point being, of course the public sector makes mistakes and is often ineffective, but your castigation of them vs. the diafication of the private sector is entirely unwarrented.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 1, 2012 1:55 p.m.

    To "Eric Samuelsen" unfortunately reality has shown us that the Obama administration is using "fuzzy math" to support their claims. So far if you look at the claims of jobs being saved, the administration is claiming to have saved jobs that were never going to be cut.

    If the stimulus is actually doing what they claim, why won't the Obama administration let us see how they calculate their numbers? Aren't they supposed to be the most transparent administration ever?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 1, 2012 1:24 p.m.

    All public works projects come from taxes, in one form or another. We, the people, pay for those projects. It comes from our wages. It is added to the price that we pay for essential products, like gasoline. Some of those projects are truly essential. We need highways to get good from place of origin to our markets. Some of those projects are not essential - like the "bridge to nowhare".

    Congressmen are not capable of NOT taking money for worthless projects. History shows us that Congressmen will take any funds for any purpose if those funds can show that that Congressman will gain votes.

    We are charged a federal tax on gasoline. Who assures us that ALL of that money goes to the construction and maintenance of federal highways? In addition, we are charged a State tax on gasoline. Who assures us that ALL of that money goes to the construction and maintenance of State roads?

    Public projects enable commerce to happen. Spending money on worthless "public" projects is just "pork barrel" projects that need to be rejected.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    April 1, 2012 1:02 p.m.

    @Samuelsen: "Sound Keynesian economics" is an oxymoron. Somebody has to pay the bills eventually. It's always easier to make tomorrow's taxpayer's do it. We've been playing that game for so long now that it cannot be put off any longer. We will soon see how "sound" this economic situation is.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    April 1, 2012 12:14 p.m.

    Excellent letter. As for Redshirt's concerns, what are you talking about? The 2009 stimulus saved 2.4 million jobs. The New Deal saved our nation's economy. Stimulative spending works. Nice to see the head of the Chamber of Commerce embrace sound Keynesian economics.

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    April 1, 2012 9:23 a.m.

    Second, Congress must ensure that money invested in infrastructure is spent wisely.

    That's the problem with public versus private spending. Congress and federal beureaucrats don't the expertise or proper incentive to direct the money to the most profitable use.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    April 1, 2012 9:03 a.m.

    Well you could give a boost to the road and bridge constructionists by a big public works promotion. Then where would the money come from? If it's from current receipts of gasoline taxes all well and good, although we are using the roads less as more are unemployed,less money is available for consumer spendnig, and gasoline prices are increasing.

    We might actually slow down construction for the moment and tackle the root economic problem - government spending and government interference in the economy. The article does appear to tackle this obviously which could be the beginning of a fruitful discussion.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 1, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    To "Thomas J. Donohue" unfortunately the government has never figured out how to do what you suggest. Hoover tried it in 1929 and 1930 and it failed then, Obama claimed to have tried it again in 2009 and it failed again. Do you really think that "the third time is the charm" and it will work?