News & Analysis
Ed Rendell Calls for Massive Infrastructure New Deal
Rebuilding our economic backbone ... We're getting beat by Estonia. Not that there's anything wrong with the tiny state on the Baltic Sea. But the nation that built the Hoover Dam, pioneered the Interstate Highway System and created the best aviation system in the world, is rapidly sliding toward the bottom of the list when it comes to infrastructure. Infrastructure is the economic backbone of any modern society. Without a reliable, functioning system, things we take for granted would fall apart: roads and bridges, schools, public and private transportation, the energy grid that powers our lives, the water we drink. But today the United States no longer leads the world in infrastructure competitiveness. Countries like the Netherlands, South Korea and Singapore now rank in the top 10, according to the World Economic Forum, while the United States, once No. 1, has fallen to 14. If this does not concern you, it should. – Reuters, Ed Rendell
Dominant Social Theme: America Needs to Wake Up and Build Its Future.
Free-Market Analysis: We put the letters in caps in our dominant social theme, above, because you can almost hear former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell making that statement in rolling tones.
He wrote this editorial for Reuters in his capacity as co-chairman of Building America's Future, "a bipartisan coalition of elected officials advocating infrastructure investment," or so Reuters informs us.
This is, in our view, actually an elite dominant social theme because it is part of a larger dialectic that only involves two potential choices. The first one is that "America" doesn't rebuild its ruined infrastructure. The second choice is that it does.
In both instances, there is no question about where the funding is going to come from. The US government is going to come up with funds for yet more trillions to "rebuild America."
This is a convenient trope of a power elite that wants to make sure only government is responsible for the necessities of industrial operation. The top elites utilize mercantilism to first create and then manipulate government levers of power. They are attempting to fully build out the mechanism of world government.
In the process they have bankrupted the United States because the West apparently has to be brought down and the developing world has to be brought up before the two halves can merge.
While US infrastructure has been ruined by neglect and purposeful incompetence, the top elites intend to continue to control the conversation about how the US's infrastructure can best be rehabilitated.
To this end, no doubt, Governor Rendell has been retained and equipped with a resonant message that sounds reasonable but that we doubt will ever be implemented. Here's more:
Building America's Future, a national and bipartisan coalition of state and local elected officials that I co-chair with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently updated Falling Apart and Falling Behind, a comprehensive report on the state of America's infrastructure.
What's the bottom line? Our legacy of advancement and innovation – the very things that made the United States an economic superpower – is at risk. Global competitors are racing ahead. They're doing it by making smart, long-term investments in modern networks, such as rail, ports and electrical grids, to meet the demands of the global economy.
A case in point is the investment in port infrastructure made by our competitors in anticipation of larger vessels becoming the norm once the newly widened Panama Canal is completed. Since 2000, China has invested more than $5 trillion in its ports. Brazil has invested more than $250 billion since 2008.
The result? China now has six of the world's busiest ports and the U.S. has none of the top 10. Shanghai's port now moves more container traffic in a year than the top eight U.S. ports combined. Brazil's investment has gone into its Acu Superport, larger than the island of Manhattan, with state-of-the-art highway, pipeline and conveyor-belt capacity to ease the transfer of raw materials onto ships heading to China.
And the United States? The World Economic Forum ranks us 19th in the quality of our port infrastructure, behind such countries as Iceland, Denmark and – yes – Estonia. Our roads are not much better – with expensive consequences for every American.
Rendell hits all the requisite elite memes in the above statements. The main meme is treating the issue as one that must be settled between nation-states. Nations are actually made up of people and it is PEOPLE that infrastructure benefits ... or doesn't.
"America" could not care less if China now has "six of the world's busiest ports" because America does not exist as a conscious entity. Neither does "China." When politicians want to provide certain rhetorical messages, they fall back on attributing human dimensions to conceptual elements such as nation-states.
What Rendell really is trying to do with his assertions is to present the inevitability that "America" will have to pay for a massive overhaul of "her" infrastructure. This will never happen, in our view – but then again, it is not supposed to. It sounds good, though. Here's what he wants:
To regain our status as a world leader, we must develop a national infrastructure strategy for the next decade. Working together, Washington must:
Produce a 10-year critical infrastructure plan that makes significant new investments;
Pass a long-term transportation bill;
Target federal dollars toward economically strategic freight gateways and corridors;
Refocus investment on projects of national significance.
It is time to create a National Infrastructure Bank that would leverage financing from the federal, state, local and private sectors. This could provide funding for critical projects that cross jurisdictions and affect multiple sectors such as roads, water and energy.
Take this "program" at face value for a moment. Where does he think the money is going to come from? The US is bankrupt. Does Rendell think the Federal Reserve is going to print it for him? Does he really believe that fiscal policy will raise the necessary dollars?
Here's another idea – the one that the super elites don't want mentioned. Perhaps at some point, given the ongoing presence of what we call the Internet Reformation, people will begin to suggest that private industry become responsible for infrastructure.
The argument has been in the modern era that private industry simply cannot ram through the sociopolitical demands that are necessary when it comes to building large projects.
But given the state of the US's roads, bridges and other infrastructure, perhaps the time has come to get the US government out of the infrastructure business.
Let industry itself collude on a local level to create necessary facilities for industrial development.
Admittedly, this sounds fanciful and unrealistic. But drive through today's US surveying its ruined cities, tremulous bridges, rusting railroads and crumbling roads and contemplate the alternative.
Is the current US political system really capable of rejuvenation?
Conclusion: Perhaps it is time to allow the Invisible Hand of competition to go to work.
Posted by James Jaeger on 02/17/13 11:30 PM
The GDP is such a bunch of crap. When academia uses it it makes them look like a bunch of morons.
Posted by Danny B on 02/16/13 07:06 PM
Infrastructure "deal" is a lost cause.
GOV prints currency and adds it to the GDP. GOV pays wages with this money and adds it to the GDP. It's counted twice.
We bought Toyotas and Japan sent the money back as treasury bonds. GOV spent it.
It got spent twice (oversimplified).
We bought OPEC oil and Saudi, et al sent the money back as treasury bonds. GOV spent it. There is far more to the story BUT, Our wage-and-price structure is severely distorted by all this spending that we didn't earn.
Our wage structure is crashing because of global wage arbitrage, automation and outsourcing. Our price structure will have to do a LOT of catching up before it hits bottom.
Japan built LOTS of infrastructure and it was a waste of money. GOV can NOT create permanent jobs,,, only the market can.
If we build infrastructure to access natural resources, there is hope of permanent jobs. After all, natural resources are the basis of ALL value-added industries. If we build infrastructure just to put people to work, there is added debt but, no lasting gain.
The developing countries can build infrastructure to open new areas of natural resources (and trash the environment) Developed countries can't do this.
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America could possibly open new resource areas to be exploited but, our wage-price structure is too elevated to be competitive in the global marketplace.
"Right now, the cost of shipping and ground transportation can nearly double the total cost of cheap goods produced by Chinese and Far Eastern under-market labor. The plan is to reduce those transportation costs by as much as 50% by using Mexican ports."
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There is a plan to build a huge container port at Santo Tomas, B.C.S.
Goods would go by rail to Yuma, AZ and completely bypass the West coast ports.
We can build infrastructure to advance the saturation of Chinese goods but, we will further handicap domestic manufacturing. This will further reduce domestic wages.
Private enterprise demands competition and efficiency. There is NO POSSIBLE way to maintain the America wage-and-price structure. Our impossibly bloated public sector will always make us non-competitive in world markets.
New highways and ports won't fix this.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by 1776 on 02/16/13 01:35 PM
Sign of the times, and Eddy is part of the cancer eating our nation from within!
Left In The Dark: Copper Thieves Rob Detroit Freeways Of Light
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Posted by scousekraut on 02/16/13 08:02 AM
It is generally thought that Germany has a very good Autobahn network and a good Inter City Rail Network run by the governmant owned Deutsche Bahn.
When I came to Germany I was surprised to find there were no long distance buses. They had been banned in the eraly 1930's and were still banned to protect Deutsche Bahn. Finally in November last year the ban was lifted and the first long distance bus companies are getting going.
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Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 02/16/13 12:30 AM
One of O'Reilly's buddies. You know the rest of the networks will go along, if they get Fox to chime in loud enough, they might even get the votes for it.
Japan spent the last twenty-five years basically paving Honshu. Apparently without any economic improvement at all.
Posted by sallybluey on 02/15/13 03:16 PM
"Fast Eddie" Rendell is pushing socialization by infrastructure. I am sure it will follow the Agenda 21 blueprint. I am sure it will include the NAFTA superhighway to further the elite's goal of regionalization to move us closer to the North American Union.
I would also expect to see high speed rail and more funding for public transportation in the urban areas with less dependency on the automobile. This isn't just about mercantilism but is about the control of populations in by restricting their movement by placing them in dense urban areas. I wouldn't be surprised to see gas taxes to discourage driving cars that will fund this mess.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by 1776 on 02/15/13 01:37 PM
Sen. Rand Paul on Fox Business' Cavuto to discuss the State of the Union - 2/13/12
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Posted by Ol' Grey Ghost on 02/15/13 12:27 PM
Speaking of ports, I remember a few years back there was talk by some private companies here in the Republic to increase the size of the ports near Houston through private investment funds. "Oops, not too fast," said the EPA, "too much of an impact on the environment, don't you know?"
Our benevolent government officials create the problem by enforcing stifling regulations and then they expect to solve the problem by spending more taxpayer's money. The main thing they get is more power.
And the President recommends more government action to further damage the U.S. economy while stirring up some racial animosity at the same time...
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One ticking time bomb after another...