Sunday, December 19, 2010

Department of Missed Opportunities: Infrastructure Edition

It is possible, though rarely acknowledged, that the administration/Congress’s policy has been full of achievement but is not good enough. It’s possible because it’s true. There have been several missed opportunities in the 2009-10 period, but one of the biggest is the inability to take advantage of cheap money and cheap labor to repair our crumbling infrastructure. Knicked from Paul Krugman and Michael Mandel is this chart:




If anything, this chart underestimates matters: our infrastructure is decrepit and hence ineffective relative to the original standards; but of course the technical standards of infrastructure have advanced since their being built. This even neglects the new kinds of infrastructure that have been invented or updated recently that I suspect the statistics don’t really capture: broadband, various smart grids, etc. etc. Eventually, I suspect these things will be built, but it will be much more expensive and opportunities will have been lost along the way that make this a real tragedy.

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