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August 2, 2010

Tax Cuts Leave Nothing Behind -- Infrastructure Investment Leaves Behind Infrastructure

-- by Dave Johnson

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America's Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture as part of the Making It In America project. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Actually, the title kind of says it all, no?

If we spend money on tax cuts, the next year we only have debt and pay interest on the debt. For a clear example, just look at the damage the Bush tax cuts have done to the country. They left behind worse than nothing -- we had years of slow growth, and the cuts caused a massive deficit and debt that plagues us now. And, because we didn't have the money to use to maintain the infrastructure we are that much further behind on that task now.

If we spend money on improving the country's infrastructure, we get all the job creation that comes from that work, and the next year you have that infrastructure there to help drive the economy. For a clear example, how did all that government spending on the Interstate Highway System work out for the economy? For a clear example, look at China's investment in high-speed rail. They can now move people and goods so much more efficiently and faster between their cities, and they developed an industry that is now selling its expertise to the rest of the world.

Our country has a huge, huge infrastructure deficit. After the Reagan tax cuts started draining the government's ability to be a government we slowed down or stopped maintenance of the country's roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, transit systems, schools, dams & levees and everything else that didn't blow someone up. Our rail system is not last-century, it is century-before-last! The American Society of Civil Engineers calculates that we are $2.2 trillion behind where we need to be. As a result we have fallen behind the rest of the world in competitiveness, efficiency, and of course job creation.

Connect the dots: We have about 10% unemployment and we have a huge, huge backlog of work that needs doing. And after that work gets done the economy will run much more smoothly and will be much more competitive.

To me it's a no-brainer. Everyone benefits when we invest in jobs and infrastructure. We can see all around us that tax cuts leave nothing behind, and in fact make our problems worse.

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Posted by Dave Johnson at August 2, 2010 12:01 PM


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