Obama's 21st Century New Deal

Obama Pledges Massive Public Works Program


“We need action — and action now,” he said in an address taped for broadcast Saturday morning on radio and YouTube.


Mr. Obama and his team are working with Congressional leaders to fashion a spending package that could invest hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy. A big part of that would be infrastructure projects such as building or repairing roads, bridges, schools, sewer systems and other public utilities. Democrats hope the new Congress that takes office in early January could pass such a measure in time for Mr. Obama to sign almost instantly after taking office Jan. 20.

The president-elect in his Saturday address offered some general ideas of what he wants to see in the package. Besides public works construction, he promised to make government buildings more energy efficient, modernize school classrooms and libraries with computers, expand access to broadband Internet service and upgrade information technology in hospitals and doctors’ offices.

The big ticket will be the public works spending. “We will create millions of jobs by making the single largest new investment in our national infrastructure since the creation of the federal highway system in the 1950s,” Mr. Obama said.

He did not give any estimate of how much he would devote to that purpose, but when he met with the nation’s governors this week, they said the states had $136 billion worth of already-approved road, bridge and other projects ready to go as soon as funding became available. They estimated each billion dollars spent would create 40,000 jobs.

By invoking the federal interstate program, Mr. Obama sought to summon the spirit of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who launched the highway construction that became integral to the nation’s economic development. That imagery seemed intended to respond to critics, who argue that public works spending historically has not been a reliable catalyst for short-term economic growth and instead is more about politicians gaining points with constituents.

Comment: Sounds nice on the surface. But probably will just spend us into more debt.

Updated: (plus changed the title of the blog to reflect politico.com article)

Obama unveils 21st Century New Deal

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