Matt Yglesias writes in response to a broken water main in New York City:
Are we suffering from a metal shortage of some kind that makes it impossible to take advantage of cheap lending to hire construction workers to fix broken pipes? If so, I haven’t heard about it. Instead, we seem to be suffering from a shortage of effective political leadership. Not coincidentally, we’re talking about a rich, low-tax country that’s also the world’s military hegemon losing its AAA-rated bond status. Interesting times.
Duncan Black adds:
I don’t know the details of the water systems of all cities, but I imagine the water departments of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston would have no trouble spending money quickly and on very legitimate projects.
Which really just adds to Yglesias’ point. There are plenty of things that can be built, that are legitimate projects, and are not limited by scarcity or resources. It’s a question of leadership and while there’s plenty of effective political leadership for doing things like anti-stimulus spending cuts and reduction in programs which have good economic multipliers, there isn’t any effective leadership for spending money in effective ways that create jobs and grow the economy. Interesting is one way to put it. Pull your hair out, batshit crazy is another way.