…Mark Schwiebert makes the case for investing in major public works projects:
“We did this during the New Deal in the 1930s with the massive public works programs…But we haven’t done anything similar since.”
Gee, I wonder why?
Oops! Bloated government happened! Which is something FDR never had to deal with. The reason these WPA-type projects cannot be done today is:
1. Labor unions would not allow any workers to make less than union wage, driving up costs to unsustainable levels. Suspend Bacon-Davis and then let’s talk.
2. EPA. Think about how environmental impact studies would halt any progress on a “public works program”
3. NIMBY. Think about how long and how costly these “public works programs” could be held up in court over NIMBY objections.
4. Massive bureaucracy. It has been evident for some time that the federal government is so massive as to be unworkable and unmanagable—Obama said so himself. How long would it take for these projects to navigate all the red tape unelected bureaucrats created?
Schwiebert says all this could be financed with a federal gas tax increase, a sales tax on internet transactions and returning the income tax to the levels of that go-go era, the 1970s.
FDR had it easy—he didn’t have to deal with the bureaucracy he helped create.
Oh yeah, and this idea isn’t exactly original either. In December 2009 Phil Hare proposed the “New Deal For A New Economy Act”, which went exactly nowhere.
I understand all this nostalgia for FDR and for a time when government really worked, but he is part of the reason we can’t have nice things anymore.