Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 12:02 pm
Quote:
WASHINGTON " President-elect Barack Obama committed Saturday to the largest public works construction program since the creation of the interstate highway system a half-century ago as he seeks to put together a plan to resuscitate the reeling economy.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/us/politics/07radio.html?_r=1&hp

so the current admin has thrown a couple trillion dollars of our kids money at the financial sector to little effect, time to get down to the depression fix of helping the little people by creating jobs that focus on investing in American infrastructure. We should have done this earlier rather than throw money at the failed financial system.

Any opinions?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 2,316 • Replies: 35
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 12:15 pm
@hawkeye10,
Yes; the emergency infusion of money into the banks was necessary, because without credit, the whole world's economy would have come to a complete stop. That would have surely hurt many more people around the world. The Public Works Projects (PWPs) should have been our governments number one priority from about a year ago when we saw the writing on the wall that our economy was in trouble. Unfortunately, many people continued to trust Bush with his "our economy is fundamentally sound" rhetoric from the same guy who told us Saddam had WMDs.

Too many people in high places were at sleep at the switch, and now it's rather late for a real recovery plan that will reverse the downward trends in lost jobs, homes, and security. Better look at beyond 2010 to see any improvement.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 12:31 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Credit markets are still largely frozen, but at this point that does not matter. During the start of the last great depression credit markets were fine, but then as now folks refused to take on debt, they lacked the confidence in the future that drives the taking of that risk. The idea in sep was to throw a lot of money at the financial system and fix the credit markets fast so that the people did not lose confidence. This has failed, it did not fix the credit markets, and it did not arrest the slide into recession/depression.. We now have spent that money, our economy is by all accounts in free fall, and we need to come up with several more trillion dollars to do what we should have done in the first place.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 12:31 pm
There is no doubt that our infrastructure is in need of repair so at the very least this sounds like a good investment in our country.

I suppose I would like to hear how contracts will be awarded for overseeing the work.....
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 12:34 pm
Full ideo and transcript here:

http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/the_key_parts_of_the_jobs_plan/
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 01:22 pm
@hawkeye10,
There's always "two sides" to every issue; some of us do not have credit frozen against us. As a matter of fact, banks wants to loan us more money at very good rates. Our home equity credit line dropped from 5.25% down to 4% without us even asking.



hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 01:31 pm
@cicerone imposter,
and I just got a letter from my credit card company raising my limit, even though I don't want a higher limit. But I can see beyond personal experience, I know for instance that to qualify for most auto loan deals one now needs a fico score in excess of 700, where-as a few months ago it was around 600, I know that the number of people underwater on the mortgage and thus not able to do a refinance or home equity loan is growing rapidly, I know that folks wanting a mortgage right now are paying a lot for one if the can get one and that many more than normal can not, I know that credit card companies are cutting limits and closing accounts wholesale, I know that the TED spread is still over 2 and know that it is more than 100% more than what it would be in a health credit market environment.

The healthy households can get credit at good rates, but to a large extent that reason we are healthy is because we have been prudent, which is the very same reason we are unlikely to use the credit now being offered.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 04:18 pm
@hawkeye10,
I actually know where you are coming from; I just like to challenge statements that doesn't cover "all the bases." The latest report is that one in ten households are behind in the mortgage payments by at least 30-days. That number will increase as more people lose their jobs, and our stupid government only looks at "auto" workers at a time when hundreds of thousands of Americans are losing their jobs and 401k's. It's just damn frustrating...
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 05:43 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:

Quote:
WASHINGTON " President-elect Barack Obama committed Saturday to the largest public works construction program since the creation of the interstate highway system a half-century ago as he seeks to put together a plan to resuscitate the reeling economy.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/us/politics/07radio.html?_r=1&hp


I've got several opinions. First, I think Obama is being overly selective on what he commits to. Public works; he's committed. Various bailouts, he's "One president at a time". It's time to either get in the game, or wait till he's president.

Another opinion on public works, specifically. Go for it, if the value exceeds the cost. The right highway might well pay itself if it's in the right place. If it's between East Deliverance and Bumfuk, it's not public works; it's boondoggle.
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 06:13 pm
@roger,
I'd like to see some restrictions such as funds only being used to repair or improve existing public works projects and that any new construction funding be only for modes of public forms of mass transportation.

Part of the problem with the existing infrastructure is that we're always building new stuff while ignoring the need for repairing or improving the existing ones. It would be nice if monies were allocated to be used for both.

Regarding the "one president at a time" problem, he does not yet have the authority to take any action on the bailouts. It doesn't take any authority to announce plans for things to come.

The announcement today is mostly just more of the same "hold on, we're almost there" type of reassurance to calm the panic while the clock runs out on the other team's possession of the ball.
okie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 12:23 am
It is going to be interesting to see whether the perceived lessons of the Great Depression serve as the correct model for fixing the current problems. First of all, there is alot of disagreement over whether public works programs did anything positive to fix the problem, that is the public's perception, and probably Obama's, but I don't think it did. The lessons are perceived differently, assessed differently by different economists, so it depends upon whether we heed the right people that have interpreted history correctly. Creating an artificial demand for commerce in the way of government mandated and funded projects does nothing to create a market driven demand over the long haul, and they are more akin to spending the wealth that already exists than they are to creating new wealth.

The health of our economy depends upon our ability to compete in a healthy free market, and thus we must fix the factors that hinder us from doing that. Unless we correctly identify the problems, we will not be able to fix them, and it doesn't take an economist to realize this basic fact. We have MBA's running the auto companies, so they are brilliant businessmen, right, but apparently they forgot how to add and subtract.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 01:10 am
@Butrflynet,
He may not have authority on those bailout, but Paulson is soliciting his opinion. With the election won, it wouldn't be out of line to be a little more specific.

On public works, it might be worth looking into, but only if the projects have their own merit. If it's just public works with the idea of throwing more money at the economy, it would be better to look elsewhere.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 01:41 am
@roger,
Quote:
On public works, it might be worth looking into, but only if the projects have their own merit. If it's just public works with the idea of throwing more money at the economy, it would be better to look elsewhere.


It is our job as adults to get the nation's infrastructure in good shape, to pass a functional nation down to our kids. We have neglected some very unsexy but important stuff for a long time. We should do public works irrespective of the current need to jobs and to stimulate the economy.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 11:17 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye, Spot on! Our country has fallen behind many developing countries when it comes to our infrastructure. Most of the blame goes to spending money on wars rather than improving our own country's needs, and that includes universal health care. Wars kill, health care saves lives. Better roads, bridges, and mass transit helps the majority of Americans at home. Wars spend money in other countries to destroy their infrastructure and stability. The only war justified by any country is only in self-defense. Iraq doesn't meet the basic justification requirement of self-defense in any shape or form.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 11:35 am
@cicerone imposter,
our electric transmission system is ****
our sewage systems are ****
our water systems can't reliably deliver safe water
our rail system can not move the freight
our intercity passenger rail system is almost non existant and what we do have is 1950's technology other than for Acela which is crap-and which needs a rebuilt NEC (to the tune of $20 billion) railroad to run at modern speeds
coastal erosion is eating Louisiana
New Orleans is not safe and needs a new flood protection system or needs to be abandoned
our national parks have been neglected for decades
we have toxic land (mostly old mining, manufacturing and military sites) that need cleaning up...lots and lots of them.
and so on and so on and so.......


Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 12:28 pm
@roger,
There's a problem with the "one president at a time" approach to public works spending. A large share of the infrastructure projects in the US are financed by the states, not the federal government. Right now the recession is draining state budgets, and Bush is against federal emergency lending to the states. Consequently, if Obama took a one-president-at-a-time approach to infrastructure spending, states would cancel infrastructure projects now, mothball them with significant effort, and de-mothball them again, with further effort, after January 20. By establishing the expectation that federal aid is coming, Obama is making states not mothball the projects in the first place -- which makes sense to me.

This problem doesn't exist for the bailouts, so "one president at a time" makes sense there.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 12:36 pm
@Thomas,
major infrastructure projects take a decade at minimum....the must span several administrations.
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 01:23 pm
@hawkeye10,
True; also, many public works projects are joint projects with federal, state, and sometimes local funds.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 01:29 pm
@cicerone imposter,
the feds are the only one with our kid's charge card, they are the only one that can come up with the cash to fund projects. The states will have as much or as little control over how this money is spent as the feds give them. He with the gold makes the rules.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2008 01:30 pm
@Thomas,
Then, they're talking about state funding?
 

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