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Don’t Bank on It

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Here – in the 575 words alloted to me twice a month by the good folks at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – is my take on Pres. Obama’s proposed “infrastructure bank [2].”  A slice:

This failure [of government of late to supply reliable infrastructure in the U.S.] isn’t the consequence of inadequate funding. According to a 2010 Congressional Budget Office report [3], inflation-adjusted annual spending by all levels of government on transportation and water infrastructure (which includes, among other items, roads, airports and harbors) increased steadily from 1982 through 2003. In 2003, that spending was 88 percent higher than it was 21 years earlier.

Between 2003 and 2007 this spending did decrease, but only by 6 percent.

Are we to conclude that such a puny decrease in annual infrastructure spending — coming after a steady 21-year rise in such spending — is responsible for all the crumbling going on? If so, what does this fact reveal about how well government spends taxpayers’ dollars?

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