Government can spur a slumping economy by rebuilding the nation's infrastructure

May 13, 2012

America is at its best when our guiding principles of free enterprise and giving people a helping hand work together. The free enterprise system created our national wealth and employment opportunities. However, free enterprise also eliminated 3 million American jobs in the 2000s while creating 2.4 million new jobs overseas. Meanwhile, Apple set new records for "legal" tax evasion.

The free enterprise system is focused on creating jobs for minimum wages, not necessarily in the U.S. That implies that the best opportunities for creating jobs are in the public sector. What can government do?

Well, the nation's infrastructure is in crisis, and we need action now to rebuild and maintain the nation's ports, roads, bridges, rail and air transport systems. Harold Ickes at the Interior Department could hardly spend a dime, like today's infrastructure managers, so President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Harry Hopkins, a social worker, to head CWA.

Within 10 days, he had put 800,000 people to work, 4 million in a few months. Less than 2 percent of the money spent during the entire program went to overhead, and there was never a whisper of scandal. We need similarly bold action today. Repairing a leaking roof is not a partisan issue.

James Lefter, Bel Air

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