But Whatever Could We Spend Money On? The Transportation Edition

With our most recent bridge collapse–at least they’re not as frequent as gun-associated mass murders–there have been renewed calls for fixing the damn bridges. While a lot of commentators have focused on a chart showing how transportation budgets, as a percentage of GDP, have dropped around forty percent over the last two years.

But what the chart doesn’t really indicate is what that means in terms of actual dollars spent: according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, that’s a ‘missing’ $67 billion every year. A billion dollars of transportation spending leads to about 17,000 jobs (though, as you might imagine, there are disagreements, with estimates ranging from 11,000 to 42,000 jobs per billion). But 17,000 seems in line with many estimates. So that missing $67 billion would yield… [Mad Biologist needs to take off our shoes to do the arithmetic] …somewhere around 1.1 million jobs.

I still can’t fathom how so many people claimed during the stimulus debate that it would be really difficult to shovel money out the door to create jobs. So what if it took a year to ramp up to full speed? It’s not as if these infrastructure problems were going away. By definition, they get worse the longer they are neglected.

And the congregation responds: This is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.

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1 Response to But Whatever Could We Spend Money On? The Transportation Edition

  1. Rich S. says:

    This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to finance these, and many other, necessary projects almost for free. The rest of the world has been willing to buy our bonds, and invest in our economy in spite of the low rates our bonds are yielding, and in spite of the bad economy. The fucking republicans contrived all this austerity bullshit just to keep Obama from doing anything that would be seen as good for the country by anyone outside their own lunatic base. You are right, they are the primary reason we can’t have nice things. And why? Because there’s one of ‘them’ in the Whitehouse. Fucking racist pigs.

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