The Corner

Obamonomics—1930s Style

Saturday’s video announcement that President-Elect Barrack Obama would unleash a massive spending plan to boost the economy wasn’t much of a surprise. True to form, he used grand images—“We need to act with the urgency this moment demands”—and he seemed to promise the federal government as savior to our economic ills.

Specifically, President-Elect Obama promised an infrastructure-spending program bigger than the investment in the federal Interstate Highway System. It is a proposal that is both grand in words and extraordinarily shallow in substance.

While we have been underfunding roads and highways to the tune of about $70 billion a year, depending on which estimates one uses, Obama’s emphasis on “ready to go” projects belies a naïve faith in government spending as a generator of jobs. Investments in infrastructure have to be the right kind, in the right place, at the right time to have meaningful impacts on long-term economic growth. Massive infusions of government cash in the current system likely will simply reinforce the status quo, dumping money into the current infrastructure black hole that might undermine long-term competitiveness as Adrian Moore and I discuss in our recent article in National Review (Dec. 15, 2008) as well as our new book, Mobility First: A New Vision for Transportation in a Globally Competitive 21st Century (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008).

Worse, Obama’s strategy of spreading federal largesse beyond roads to water and sewer systems, schools, and even extending broadband access is little more than a massive centralization and extension of federal authority over the national economy under the guise of an economic stimulus plan. The Obama stimulus package—likely to be more than $300 billion over two years—is old-style pump priming. Welcome back to the days of old-fashioned Keynesian economics.

Sam Staley is director of urban and land use policy at the Reason Foundation.

Most Popular

Elections

A Collusion Tale: China and the Bidens

Understand what’s going on here: The media-Democrat complex is warning you, on the basis of no evidence, that if you don’t close your eyes to the explosive revelations from Hunter Biden’s computers, you will be abetting a Russian intelligence operation; yet it has become increasingly obvious that this is ... Read More
Elections

A Collusion Tale: China and the Bidens

Understand what’s going on here: The media-Democrat complex is warning you, on the basis of no evidence, that if you don’t close your eyes to the explosive revelations from Hunter Biden’s computers, you will be abetting a Russian intelligence operation; yet it has become increasingly obvious that this is ... Read More
U.S.

Looking for Racism

Liberals are expanding the definition of racism to silence their political opponents and justify their expansive claims on power. Despite America’s penchant for comeback stories and apology tours for celebrities and politicians -- especially those involving sexual and financial scandals -- racism remains one of ... Read More
U.S.

Looking for Racism

Liberals are expanding the definition of racism to silence their political opponents and justify their expansive claims on power. Despite America’s penchant for comeback stories and apology tours for celebrities and politicians -- especially those involving sexual and financial scandals -- racism remains one of ... Read More
Elections

Biden, Never

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found  here, here, here, here, here and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the ... Read More
Elections

Biden, Never

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found  here, here, here, here, here and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the ... Read More
U.S.

The Next Populist Revolt

For the past half decade, Europe has acted as a preview of coming attractions in American politics. The reaction to the confluence of immigration and terrorism on the continent foreshadowed the direction the Republican Party would take under Donald Trump. The surprise victory of “Leave” in the Brexit ... Read More
U.S.

The Next Populist Revolt

For the past half decade, Europe has acted as a preview of coming attractions in American politics. The reaction to the confluence of immigration and terrorism on the continent foreshadowed the direction the Republican Party would take under Donald Trump. The surprise victory of “Leave” in the Brexit ... Read More
Sports

Madden 21’s Creepy Colin Kaepernick Coercion

Madden NFL 21, this year’s iteration of the only major football video game in the world, has an average Google user rating of 1.4 out of 5. On Metacritic, it’s .2 out of 10. At CGMagazine, Brock McLaughlin writes that “This game is much like 2020, a giant disaster” and urged those interested to buy it if ... Read More
Sports

Madden 21’s Creepy Colin Kaepernick Coercion

Madden NFL 21, this year’s iteration of the only major football video game in the world, has an average Google user rating of 1.4 out of 5. On Metacritic, it’s .2 out of 10. At CGMagazine, Brock McLaughlin writes that “This game is much like 2020, a giant disaster” and urged those interested to buy it if ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Pennsylvania Poll: Biden 49, Trump 44

In the final Pennsylvania poll of the 2020 presidential election conducted by Muhlenberg College on behalf of the newspaper Morning Call, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 49 percent to 44 percent. The same pollster's previous survey, conducted between October 13 and October 20, showed Biden leading Trump 51 percent ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Pennsylvania Poll: Biden 49, Trump 44

In the final Pennsylvania poll of the 2020 presidential election conducted by Muhlenberg College on behalf of the newspaper Morning Call, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 49 percent to 44 percent. The same pollster's previous survey, conducted between October 13 and October 20, showed Biden leading Trump 51 percent ... Read More
White House

Hell, Yes

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National ... Read More
White House

Hell, Yes

Editor’s Note: If you would like to read more pros and cons on voting for President Trump, further essays on the subject, each from a different perspective, can be found here, here, here, here, and here. These articles, and the one below, reflect the views of the individual authors, not of the National ... Read More