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January 12, 2009

Infrastructure Investment Is The Way Out

-- by Dave Johnson

Looking at the economy, let me ask the question: What will drive a recovery? What is there in our economy that can get things moving again? Is it manufacturing? When the dollar was falling, prices of goods made in the US were becoming attractive, but with the worldwide crisis the dollar is strong again. And, even if other countries were in a position to buy (and not in recession themselves) we have fallen behind with our manufacturing infrastructure so it would be some time before we could respond to demand.

Since Reagan's tax cuts the country has been living on borrowed money (deficits) and calling it prosperity. We have been putting off maintaining our infrastructure -- never mind investment in new infrastructure. We have been cutting education budgets. We have been cutting health care. we have been cutting everything except military budgets and now it is catching up to us.

The road out of this is public investment. We need a long effort to build a 21st-century infrastructure. We need a national wind and solar energy grid, so we are not exporting dollars in exchange for oil. We need to build energy-efficient transportation. We need building codes across-the-board that require energy efficiency in housing and commercial buildings and we need to retrofit existing buildings. We need fiber-optic internet into every home and business. We need a massive investment in public education up to the university level. We need national health care.

How do we pay for this? By restoring democracy. We return the top tax rate to 90+%. High taxes at the top drive our economy -- look up the numbers, it is just a fact. This also reduces the massive concentration of wealth we have today. Then restore the inheritance tax, and raise it, so people start life on a more equal footing. Cut the military budget to just above the amount spent by the next-highest budgeted competitor. (That would be a massive cut because we now spend more than all other countries combined.)

Posted by Dave Johnson at January 12, 2009 12:29 PM


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