Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We Need To Re-Discover America

Studies show that our nation’s investment in infrastructure as a % of GDP has steadily declined since the Eisenhower years of the 1950’s.  We now rank 27th in the world…right behind Malaysia.
Studies also show that our nation’s investment in research and development as a % of GDP has steadily declined since the Kennedy years of the 1960’s. 
It was Eisenhower’s investment in building our national highways and bridges that spurred our economic growth, bolstered employment and opened new avenues for commerce.
It was Kennedy’s investment in science and research and development that lead us to the moon and opened the way for advancements in medicine and cures for debilitating disease.
It was this investment in our future coupled with an open immigration policy that encouraged the import of new ideas that led us to greatness.  So why are we now slashing the very things that made us great?
Our major competitors in China, India and Brazil are investing trillions into roads, bridges, airports and light rail.  How do we respond?  We respond by dismantling AMTRAK; selling bits and pieces to the highest bidder because we can no longer afford to maintain the railways.
Republicans believe that by simply cutting taxes, regulation and spending we will foster an atmosphere that will grow employment and stimulate the economy.  We disagree.
The Bush tax cuts have been in place for 12 years now.  So where are the jobs?  Where is the economic growth? 
The Republicans say that the President’s jobs bill is nothing more than another ineffective, big government stimulus plan that will fail just lake the last one did.  The fact is 60% of the President’s jobs bill is tax cuts.  Over 50% of the 2009 stimulus was tax cuts.  So if these plans did not and will not work…then tax cuts do NOT stimulate economic growth and increase jobs.  Republicans can’t have it both ways.
The fact is in order to stimulate the economy you need short term investment, reduced spending and long term debt reduction.  Tax cuts and bare bones spending cuts alone, as proven in the past, won’t get it done.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is featured in two commercials that we believe do a great job of cutting to the chase.
In the first commercial she is standing in front of what appears to be the Hoover Dam.  Looking into the camera she says: When our grandparents and great grandparents built this they knew that the benefits would fall to us.  They knew that we would benefit from this.  What have we done?
In the next commercial she is standing beneath a huge bridge which spans a large valley.  Looking up at the bridge she says: “You are never going to get a private company looking for a profit to build something like this on spec.  Companies can’t build things like this.  Cities can’t build things like this.  States can’t build things like this.  Only government can build something like this.”
Tonight Chris Mathews on MSNBC’s “Hardball” will list the location of 95 bridges in dire need of repair…all in Speaker Boehner’s state of Ohio.
Maddow has recommended compiling a list of all the unfunded construction projects applied for by Republicans under the President’s 2009 stimulus bill.  Yes, while Republicans were quick to criticize the bill they had no problem slurping from the trough.  So why not fund those projects?  After all Republicans applied for the money making the case that these projects would increase jobs and stimulate the economy. So…!
We cannot slash and cut our way out of this economic quagmire.  We need to invest and invent our way out.
Thomas Friedman said:  “Eisenhower used the cold war to rally the country to move forward and invest vast amounts on infrastructure, education, science and innovation…We didn’t get to where we are by accident.  We became the most prosperous country on the planet because we had a formula for success:  education, infrastructure, immigration, the right rules and government investment in research.  We have nothing to learn from China.  The history books we need to read are our own.  We need to re-discover our own country.”


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