Let the grandkids worry about the blanking infrastructure

After all, who needs infrastructure? A single hundred year old tunnel should be good enough to service 4 or 5 million people. Whiners, always want more. But Gov. Christie set them straight. No new tunnel for New Jersey. Can’t afford it he said.

” [now] by any rational calculation, would be an especially good time to improve the nation’s infrastructure. We have the need: our roads, our rail lines, our water and sewer systems are antiquated and increasingly inadequate. We have the resources: a million-and-a-half construction workers are sitting idle, and putting them to work would help the economy as a whole recover from its slump. And the price is right: with interest rates on federal debt at near-record lows, there has never been a better time to borrow for long-term investment.

But American politics these days is anything but rational . . .

It was a destructive and incredibly foolish decision on multiple levels. But it shouldn’t have been all that surprising. We are no longer the nation that used to amaze the world with its visionary projects. We have become, instead, a nation whose politicians seem to compete over who can show the least vision, the least concern about the future and the greatest willingness to pander to short-term, narrow-minded selfishness.”

That’s what Paul Krugman says.

17 responses to “Let the grandkids worry about the blanking infrastructure

  1. I was trying to read this at breakfast, out, about an hour or so ago. But the joint was jumpin’.

    I just can’t figure why it’s impossible to get a consensus on a Keynesian approach to fix the hard crash that thirty years of Supply Side has brought.

    You can’t even get a dissuasion. Many a , if not, most right wing “regular folk’s” blogs all read as the Keyboard equivalent of fingering “worry beads.” A lot of CAPLOCKED cant and group think dogma.

    Come on, tell me it wasn’t FDR but Pearl Harbor that ended the “The Great Depression.” That’s a valid argument. And any thoughts on the Austrian school? That could be fun. But to pimp over and time again that the President is a socialist, “Obamacare” a radical prescription, and not knowing the Tarp tick tock, are enthusiasms as defined by Adam Smith, Hume, and Burke.

    Anyway, sorry to be so windy. Gov. Christie will loose more than a few independence and moderate Dems with this non-decision move.



    • It’s my favorite rant too – ” FDR didn’t end the depression, WWII did!” As if WWII wasn’t the largest Federal government stiumulus program in history. Never do get an answer of course.

      I really think the Dems need to start pushing back on this no taxes thing. It’s time to start saying – and repeating over and over again – you can’t run a country without taxes!


  2. Hm.. I think this decision is a bit more complex.. One thing is the developers overcharging a public works project by $5-6 billion, another is the general denial over bankruptcy in states and cities. Christie is doing something important here – displaying the facts – disregarding the obvious vote-losing consequences..

    He’s doing this everyday – to unions as well.. we DON’T have the money.

    Besides – there’s always games.. a little halt and re-scheduling of things, maybe something’s saved.. and he made his point in loud actions.


    • Mac, I respect your opinion always. This is an issue that always gets me pumped up. In fact it enrages me that we ignore this stuff.

      So maybe that crept into my post? I am now reading that, as you said, the fat lady hasn’t yet sung on this one (nothing personal Governor).


    • Good Points ..talk and politics.. you can always ladle out less at the public trough, rework the reward..being a new Gov in Hard Times… and perhaps that’s, as you suggest , is Christie’s play… but to dicker on the notion that infrastructure doesn’t need an upgrade is putting deflation before a monetary remedy. Just foolin’ with that last BS.


  3. Ms. Holland,

    News flash. New Jersey is broke. Governor Christie is trying to unbroke it. My concern is that Governor Christie is reconsidering his decision.

    Paul Krugman is an idiot. Proof is the Nobel Peace prize.


  4. Gov. Christie balked. He’s rethinking the deal after talking with DOT LaHood.


  5. Ms. Holland,

    ” Alan – who’s your favorite living economist? ”

    I don’t have one. My favorite overall thinker on politics, economics, military, and clarity is Charles Krauthammer. He is the only commentator that can take an Obama speech and translate it into English. His ” Does he Lie ” column on the Obama health care speech was amazing.

    You know what, I can give you two economists that I think very highly of. Both are Black. Isn’t that a kick in the head, since your side is always accusing us of being racists. That we dislike Obama the One because he is Black. The two are Walter E. Williams and Thomas Sowel. Since Sowel and Krauthammer are former Liberals, they are great at destroying the false arguments your leaders constantly spew forth.

    Just why did you want me to name names? You are not really going to read what they write and take the chance of having your whole political philosophy destroyed, are you ?


    • Well of course I asked Alan because you called Krugman an idiot (he didn’t win that Nobel for his politics; he won it for monetary theory). That’s why.

      Never heard of Sowel, but Walter Williams? Okay, he’s a trained economist, but his writings and views as far as I know are confined to capitalism vs socialism and a celebration of laissez-faire and libertarianism.

      He opposes minimum wages. He thinks it should be legal to sell ones own body parts – one of those theoretical and utopian arguments that assumes that people would do so ONLY because they chose to – not because some creep is offering to finance their kids operation or get his brother out of a torture chamber for that kidney, or worse, that liver. (Can’t live iwthout a liver). That would be a lovely world and one that most civilized people would shun.

      Krauthammer? You may agree with his views – many do. But he’s not too good on readling the tea leaves. In March 2005 he said:

      “Two years ago, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, I argued in these pages that forcefully deposing Saddam Hussein was, more than anything, about America “coming ashore” to effect a “pan-Arab reformation”–a dangerous, “risky and, yes, arrogant” but necessary attempt to change the very culture of the Middle East, to open its doors to democracy and modernity. The Administration went ahead with this great project knowing it would be hostage to history. History has begun to speak. Elections in Afghanistan, a historic first. Elections in Iraq, a historic first. ”

      Then Iraq began tearing itself apart. And five years later Karzai is still the Mayor of Kabul. Krauthammer peddles romanticism pure and simple. It doesn’t win wars, it doesn’t create democracies and it doesn’t have anything to do with the real world and how we govern ourselves.

      Have at it Alan!


  6. Ms. Holland,

    ” Have at it Alan! ”

    I used to pride myself on my brevity. Lately with you and hippieprof I find myself rambling on at length. I thank you for the opportunity and also apologize for not being able to shorten up my answers.

    So lets us discuss Mr. Krugman, the liberal’s favorite economist. Paul Krugman is a Keynesian. It’s easy to see where President Obama got his Government Stimulus is the answer to all things economic, solutions. Now that the Krugman endorsed, Obama Stimulus has failed to bring down unemployment, how does this esteemed academic explain it? Obama did not spend enough. Obama did not put us in debt enough.

    Krugman made his bones criticizing the Bush economic policies. He even got a few things right. In 05 he began to warn about the housing bubble. However, your resident economic genius in a 2002 writing had urged Alan Greenspan to create that same housing bubble because the tech bubble had just burst.

    Paul Krugman, if you want to know the truth, is nothing more than a left wing hack, who has enough economic degrees to cloak his class warfare ideology in fancy language that impresses the layman.

    Obama’s economic policies are close enough to Krugman’s ideas to be a test case. So far, so bad.


    • So, Alan, being a Keynesian is being wrong? Tell that to FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter.

      It all changed with Reagan. With some ‘voodoo economics’ policy called ‘supply side’. In every administration between FDR and Reagan the national debt was reduced. Every one. Then in 1981 it all began to change (we’ve had this conversation before).

      Under Reagan the debt increased +20%
      Under Bush I it was +13%
      Clinton brought it down by just over -1.3%
      Bush II took it back up +27%

      I posted on this subject a few times before:

      I think in that last one I made the comment ‘Obama’s economy, my ass.” (whoops, there goes that newsroom language again!)


  7. Ms. Holland,

    You know I would ‘love’ to see President Obama’s first 2 years on your chart. AND Reagan actually got something accomplished during his 8 years. Your guy has raised the debt and got nothing for it. Ronnie Ray Gun brought runaway inflation down which is something no other President had to deal with. In those days they called it the misery index. Under your boy Carter, America was pretty damn miserable.

    I know you remember those good ole days. Humongous gas lines, with odd even fill ups. Interest rates 18%. It took a great man to end our national nightmare.

    Your chart also leaves out which party controlled Congress during all of those eras. That is a pretty big item to leave out. All spending begins in the House of Representatives. And that my host, not taxes, is the cause of deficits. Every Congressman wants to be the hero who gets the big slab of bacon for his voters. Under Pelosi every Democrat and a few Rinos got to be really big heroes.


    • [Your chart also leaves out which party controlled Congress during all of those eras. ]

      That would be relevant if we were looking at only one or two administrations. But over almost 70 years we’ve got a real clear pattern. The story of Repubican administratons vs Dem administrations is crystal clear.

      The chart measures only in 4 year increments. So sorry Alan, much as you wish you could see it now, you’ll have to wait till Jan 2013 to see how Mr. Obama is doing. I know how you like (see above) to compare 18 months to 8 years as if they were the same thing.


  8. Ms. Holland,

    ” So sorry Alan, much as you wish you could see it now, you’ll have to wait till Jan 2013 to see how Mr. Obama is doing ”

    No please, do not be sorry. Trust me, I know how he is doing. I did not need your chart for that . But, it sounds as if you believe President Obama will turn things around in the next two years. Well , good luck. It could happen. With a Republican House, all things become possible.

    Remember Bill Clinton. The 1994 election turned out well in the long run. At worst he had someone new to blame.


    • I do not believe Obama will turn things around in two years. I beleive we have a five or ten year problem in front of us and further I think our entire economy has been altered in permanent ways we don’t even understand yet – one being what is called ‘structural unemployment’. It’s not going to be pretty.

      All Obama and his people can do is minimize the damage, create opportunities for hte future and work work work.

      Ah Clinton – in spite of hte obscenity of that impeachment ‘trial’, Clinton left office with the highest approval ratings for a prez in modern times. The American people loved hte guy. Maybe cuz he was a good president.


  9. Ms. Holland,

    ” I think our entire economy has been altered in permanent ways we don’t even understand yet ”

    And who may I ask, altered it ? President Obama did say he would transform the country. Well you have to say he’s succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. This was what Rush Limbaugh was talking about when he said ” I hope he fails ” . Obama did not fail to get his agenda enacted.

    ” one being what is called ‘structural unemployment’. ”

    You could very well be right. I, however disagree. I believe that the structural problems are all in Washington. I believe that within 5 years the US will have labor shortages.

    ” All Obama and his people can do is minimize the damage, create opportunities for hte future and work work work. ”

    🙂 That is a good one. The only way for them to minimize the damage is to not do anything. Obama likes to draw the analogy of the economy as a car Republicans drove into the ditch. A better analogy would be a boat that has taken on water. Obama has decided that the best way to keep the boat from sinking, is to drill holes in the bottom to let the water out.

    ” Ah Clinton – in spite of hte obscenity of that impeachment ‘trial’, Clinton left office with the highest approval ratings for a prez in modern times. ”

    My point exactly. If you keep people working, you can lie, you can commit adultery in the White House, and you can commit a felony, and it will not matter.


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