Ok. So maybe repairing our decaying infrastructure isn’t the best thing to do. Or maybe it is. But it’s certainly better than spending billions on fighter planes and giving tax benefits to bankers (who end up destroying the economy). Over the past few years, we’ve seen the TARP and all these other American recovery programs. Funny thing is, I don’t see any difference. All these TARP programs did was temporarily bail us out (actually, they didn’t bail us out. They bailed out those who don’t deserve help a.k.a bankers). Cash for clunkers. Mortgage assistance. All these things did was to temporarily make the whole picture look nice and rosy. The instant the program ends, everything heads south.
America was built on the back of a great interlinking set of infrastructure. Our highway system was once the envy of the world. A glistening clean airport in virtually every city. The world’s most extensive electric grid. Keep in mind that we practically invented the cyber world, and every infrastructure-related record was once in America (highest building, longest bridge).
And then everything went downhill. Roads falling apart. Harbors that are completely neglected (boy do they look disgusting). Airports that look like they were built to contain WWII fighter jets (just kidding, but you get the point). An aging and ever more expensive to repair electrical system.
Some people say it’s not worth spending money on infrastructure in times of economic crisis (did I forget the $14 trillion worth of debt?). But hey, let’s put things this way. However much money Congress can get it’s hands on, it will spend it. Every last cent. Plus an extra couple of borrowed trillion dollars, give or take a few. So let’s say no to policing the world. Let’s put away our billion dollar toocooltoneglectweapons, and focus on the problems at home. And of course, screw Wall Street. So what’s going to happen with all these cost savings? Certainly not pay down our debt, of course. Hell, even Bill Clinton considered it a horror if the U.S. one day wasn’t in debt. It’s gotta be spent somewhere.
So let’s spend it on something productive. Repair our decaying infrastructure. Now that’s something productive (for a change), and will benefit future generations (so they won’t have to say “gee dad, what’s a highway?”) Here’s how.
Roads, tunnels, bridges, highways: Believe it or not, this is the cheap part. Building something is easy. But as soon as it’s built, our government seems to forget it’s there, and just lets it sit for decades without being repaired. Our transportation routes were what made us the greatest nation in the world. Fast, convenient, and easy to use transportation (which means no potholes) increases domestic (and international) trade. The entire notion of wealth is based upon the equation more trade = more wealth.
Let’s use some of the technology we created: You ever wait at a redlight, and say “What the hell, there’s no cars coming! Why the f*** is this redlight taking so long!???”. Waste of gas, money, and time. Back in China, they’re using real time data sensors to figure out how to move traffic more efficiently. Oh, by the way, the U.S. invented that technology.
Also, it’s become stereotypical to see fat policemen monitoring the roads to catch speeders, while eating donuts. In China, they’re using electrical sensors that tracks the speed of every car that passes by it. More efficient, and money-saving.
Green energy: This should be the obvious one (but then again, nothing’s obvious for American politicians, godknows what’s going on in their heads). This is the future! Obviously we can’t depend on oil for a lifetime. The problem is, the private sector is too short minded to invest in alternative energy projects. That’s why I propose the government fund American universities with billions of dollars towards green energy research. Right now, advanced nations like Japan and Germany are investing heavily in this. So how can we pay for this? The patents of course! Once the technology comes out, just sell the patents to private companies.
Inefficient airports: It’s just so goddamn slow. If I’m going from New York to Chicago, I might as well drive there. The check in and waiting times alone takes up 4 hours. The reason why American airports are so slow is because they were built for a different time. Although I have to admit, building new airports isn’t the best thing a country can do in a recession.
Subway stations: I have nothing to say. My first time in New York resulted in me wandering around in the subway stations for 2 hours. The organization and way subway lines are mapped out is poor at best. Did I mention the lack of air conditioning and the fact that homeless people use subway elevators are their private bathroom? Rebuilding America’s subway system could be a huge boost, both to the government, to the environment, and to the public. More people would use public transit, the government would get more revenues from public transit, and it avoids cars sitting in traffic.