Barack Obama has just announced support for a national infrastructure bank — similar to the one that Senators Chris Dodd and Chuck Hagel have been pushing for in Congress.
This is really important for the nation — and helps to get back to sensible thinking about rebuilding the foundation on which this country’s commerce, jobs base, social networks, just about everything that requires connectivity is based. Dems — particularly budget hawks — are in a bind because the stress on the discretionary part of the national budget is going to preempt any ‘politics of optimism’ if we can’t distinguish between capital investments in national infrastructure that will help drive forward growth and gains for the economy — and other kinds of disbursements that have less of an impact on economic growth.
This is great. To be fair, Hillary Clinton has talked a lot about infrastructure in the debates and in her speeches. . .but to my knowledge she had not proposed anything as tangible as this national infrastructure bank concept.
It’s about time — and it makes sense. Good for Senator Obama. I hope that Hillary Clinton joins up to the idea.
Here are Obama’s words on the subject delivered today in Janesville, Wisconsin at a GM assembly plant:
For our economy, our safety, and our workers, we have to rebuild America. I’m proposing a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank that will invest $60 billion over ten years.
This investment will multiply into almost half a trillion dollars of additional infrastructure spending and generate nearly two million new jobs — many of them in the construction industry that’s been hard hit by this housing crisis. The repairs will be determined not by politics, but by what will maximize our safety and homeland security; what will keep our environment clean and our economy strong.
And we’ll fund this bank by ending this war in Iraq. It’s time to stop spending billions of dollars a week trying to put Iraq back together and start spending the money on putting America back together instead.
Truth in advertising. The New America Foundation where I work is working hard to move national infrastructure investment forward as evident in this article by Samuel Sherraden and this piece, “Public Investment Works” by Sherle R. Schwenninger and Bernard L. Schwartz.
— Steve Clemons