Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist, Breitbart’s Steve Bannon, understands America’s economic problems, and has a plan to fix America’s economy. It should work.
Summing it up, Bannon told the Hollywood Reporter he’s:
pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything.
A trillion dollars. That’s huge. And it’s just what America needs.
America’s infrastructure is truly deplorable. Our highways and bridges, many of which were build in the post-war period by President Eisenhower are outdated, over-used, and often structurally unsound. It’s dangerous.
Remember when the bridge in Minnesota collapsed?
Not only are lives at stake, but our economy is hobbled by bad transportation. Every minute that someone wastes in traffic, or at the airport, is a minute they could be either working or relaxing—both of which are a much better use of time. Improving our infrastructure means improving our economy’s efficiency, which will generate the long-term growth America needs.
I can’t stress enough how bad our infrastructure is. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America a D+ on their 2013 “report card”. They also said that roughly $3.6 trillion would be needed just to maintain our crumbling roads, bridges, damns etc. Perhaps they’re overestimating, but it may be the case that Bannon’s $1 trillion may not even be enough.
On the bright side, $1 trillion means a ton of jobs, good jobs. It just might be enough to get working America working again. And before you say anything about them being “fake” jobs because they’re funded by the government, let me respond. Not all government investments are bad.
When the government props up ailing solar power companies, that’s a waste of money, because these businesses are inherently bad (unprofitable) investments (whether or not they were made by private or public bodies). However, a wider bridge that can accommodate more traffic, or a bigger airport that can handle more passengers, are good investments, because they improve the efficiency of the economy as a whole. They benefit everyone.
That being said, private industry rarely makes these investments on the scale we need, because the costs are concentrated (on the individual building the road), while the benefits are diffuse (the road helps everyone, including the individual’s competition). Essentially, there just isn’t a good incentive for individuals to make these types of investments.
This is why even the most ardent libertarian economics (dating back to John Stuart Mill), all agree that the government needs to build and maintain adequate infrastructure. It benefits the economy, the nation, and the people as a whole.
If Congress approves the funding, millions of Americans will have jobs again, and the economy’s overall efficiency should improve. This will help America in the short and long term. Hopefully Bannon and Trump can get it done.