Good or Bad? Obama's Infrastructure plans for the US economy

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by rasmasyean, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. rasmasyean macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    It looks like Obama's plan is aimed mostly at "traditional" industries like roads and construction within the United States. What do you think about it?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3683270/

    For me, it seems that this kind of neglects the global economy. I think there should be more efforts into building "communications infrastructure" and such to get the last mile to everyone else...something that has been stunted and neglected after the Dot-Com Bust. It seems every other nation (especially Asia) has been catching up (and surpassing in many areas) to the US and NA in this regard. So will "building roads within" the US itself help for the future of global competition in the world economy? Not to mention that this is stimulating an "old industry" and would give others even more avenues to surpass the US in leading fields more relevant to global trade. Furthermore, it seems to me that a move like this would set US up to be a country in "the stone-age" in the future modern world. :(
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #2
    I don't think that article covers the weekend announcement in depth. I'm sure I read elsewhere that there were parts of it that were about broadband... I need to do some digging for some links.
     
  3. Queso macrumors G4

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    You are however still very much ahead of Dubai, where the entire country appears to have now run out of bandwidth. So it could be worse :)
     
  4. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    Obama has stated repeatedly that communications (broadband) are a hugely important part of infrastructure, its not just roads.
     
  5. aethelbert macrumors 601

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    #5
    What he did improve are things that need to be done in the United States in order to get to the technological standards that other nations are heading to. If the infrastructure sucks, can one really expect to see massive improvements that depend on it? And just FYI, that was [supposedly] only a small fraction of the proposed plan. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see where all of this money is being dumped.

    Watching this might help.
     
  6. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    I'll see if I can find where he mentioned broadband as part of infrastructure.

    The reason roads and construction projects will take center stage is that these projects are planned, approved and ready to go at the state and local level, if funded.
     
  7. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Its good from many viewpoints. Its to bad we cant show Bush & Cheney the door now! Without a strong U.S. the global economy is in the tank. Remember this.
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    It does. Obama's plan for broadband is as ambitious as the plan the brought electricity to rural America in the 30s.
     
  9. sushi Moderator emeritus

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    That's good to hear. The US is way behind other countries regarding broadband.

    Current and modern infrastructure of all types is very important for the economy.
     
  10. mgguy macrumors 6502

    mgguy

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    This would certainly put people to work. However, that shouldn't be the only determinant of what projects get funding. Equally important is whether the projects are necessary. Please, no more bridges to nowhere.

    Another thing to consider is who would get the jobs. If the work to be performed for some of these projects (e.g., landscaping and beautification projects) is to be done largely by unskilled laborers, many of the jobs would probably be filled by illegal immigrants as in the past. Perhaps there should be some protections in place to ensure those jobs are taken only by legal residents. What we don't need is another magnet for illegal entries into the country.
     
  11. rasmasyean thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Does Obama has his own YouTube Channel? Or is ChangeDotGov the only one.
     
  12. rasmasyean thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    That's a pretty cool video. If you double-click it brings you to the YouTube location where you can click "Watch in HD", and it actually looks like it's on TV if you expand it. :)
     
  13. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    /.

    BL.
     
  14. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

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    The desire will be to find projects that can hire people within the next 60 to 120 days. What concerns me is that a lot of corners are going to be cut so the contracts can be awarded.

    I'm afraid one of the issues in 2012 will be how the Democrats rushed hundreds of billions of projects through and now they need to be replaced. Or the feds get convinced to throw money at bidders just so a bunch of people get makework jobs.

    There's a reason government contracting can take a long time, and why graft in contracting is fairly rare. A far better stimulus would be to throw the money at us, let us spend it and then let the states and local governments get the tax revenue.

    mt
     
  15. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #15
    yup. worked great the first time......

    wait.
     
  16. abijnk macrumors 68040

    abijnk

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    #16
    The timing for infrastructure based projects is pretty decent. He gets in in January, the off season, get things moving and then construction season is hell for everybody, but we have safer roads...

    Its definitely a good start.
     
  17. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

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    Don't forget ... the first time was in the tens of billions (I think $60B). This next one will be between $500 billion to $1 trillion.

    So yes, wait ... and just watch that economy stimulate ...

    mt
     
  18. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    Many would save it and many would spend it on imported goods which would negatively affect the trade balance... many would use it to repay debt. It wouldn't necessarily produce the jobs which is what they're really worried about: the unemployment rate. Biggest one month job loss for over 20 years last month... if things continue to get much worse, that's not going to be easy to turn around.
     
  19. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

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    But the sales would generate tax revenue, which would support government budgets, which would then prevent furloughs and layoffs that would make the unemployment worse. And it would provide the cash needed for PAYGO capital projects that governments could use to stimulate their local economies.

    The more I think of it, the less I'm liking Obama's plan. Governments don't do FAST well and what the politicians want is FAST. We're in for lots and lots and LOTS of wasted billions.

    mt
     
  20. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #20
    No doubt he has a broad range of ideas for projects. I'm dubious that the numbers to be employed for the work would truly be significant.

    Per a Bloomberg article, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=anFuylFkkcvI&refer=home , he spoke about steel/concrete work: "Speaking yesterday at a Chicago news conference and on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Obama said state governors have many such projects that are “shovel ready,” meaning they could be undertaken swiftly and have an immediate impact on jobs."

    Okay, fine, but there's the broadband stuff mentioned above, and the article goes on to talk about money in this package for homeowners who are in trouble. A few billion here, a few billion there, and it gets spread out into a whole bunch of "not much anywhere". I dunno.

    Sidenote: Here we are, running low on oil for transportation fuel, and rather than trying to get people to move toward shorter commutes, we're building more roads? (Maintenance and re-construction, yeah, I approve wholeheartedly.)

    Next problem: It's all deficit spending on top of all this deficit spending now going on, which is above and beyond other deficit spending already spent. But, as The Man said, "Even with the prospect of a federal budget shortfall approaching $1 trillion, “we can’t worry, short term, about the deficit,” he said on NBC. “We’ve got to make sure that the economic stimulus plan is large enough to get the economy moving.” (Didn't some other Big Dude say, "Deficits don't matter."?)

    Sure, the stimulus puts money into circulation. Whoopee. After it's spent, then what? When you're trillions in the hole, and your income is in hundreds of billions, what next? Whence cometh the moolah? You can't raise taxes anywhere near enough to do any good in narrowing the "deficit gap".

    And in the meantime, printing all that money means that it buys less and less and less. That oughta make folks happy, right?

    If stimulus money gets spent in paying down credit cards and making house/car payments, it's not spent where it would generate sales taxes, nor would it do much for job-creation.

    Looks to me like the incoming regime is tracking the existing regime, and both are following in the footsteps of Hoover/FDR. That pair gave us nine years of hard times until a world war changed things. Quo vadis?

    'Rat
     
  21. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    Well Derestrat here is a very pesimisted and complains no matter what happens. Simplely giving money to us does not last very long and on top of that a good chunk of it is saved. If the Goverment gave me 1000 bucks I would not spend it. It would just end up in my savings account. That gives a 0% return on that investment. The extra money would not cause me to buy anything but instead save it up for a later purchase.

    Quite a few people would take it and pay down debts so that is again near a 0% return. When the economy dropping so quickly savings rates always climb. Vast majority would end up paying down debt or in cases like mine which is just pure savings.

    Now the construction helps out a lot because it means Jobs and lots of them. Construction is one of the base industy in the US and a huge indicator on how things are going and will be. Pick that up and generally other industries follow. It is near the base so making it stronger means everything benefits.
     
  22. takao macrumors 68040

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    #22
    also don't forget that most likely a lot of road construction is also maintenance work so it's not necessarily all new roads

    personally i think it's more wise to spend more into more future proof things like increasing railway capacities perhaps building new lines
     
  23. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #23
    Rodimus Prime, I'm not complaining. I'm speculating about the probabilities of, "If A, then B," and I base my comments on the history of results from prior, similar events and the ensuing governmental efforts.

    I've used the parallel of now and our 1920s/1930s. Some are comparing us to Japan, which went into economic doldrums in the early/mid-1990s. They tried the pump-priming thing, to no avail. Their stock market is still half of its peak, and their real estate market is down 60% from the peak. A major difference is that they began in a cash-rich situation, with an extremely high national savings rate. Yet, some dozen or more years of hard times in spite of pump-priming.

    But, U.S. Steel stock went up 25% on the announcement. Astec Industries looks like a buying possibility (ASTE:Nasdaq). And Caterpillar oughta do okay...
     
  24. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Things I've read around the 'net lead me to a few conclusions. There's $1.6T (as in trillion) in maintenance work on roads, bridges and highways that has been deferred over the last 50 years. I don't think the focus of the new bailout bill will be new roads but fixing old ones. The reason the language is being thrown around the way it is, is because it's directed at the Joe Sixpacks of our country who make easy associations between roads and "work". My personal hope is that a lot of that money gets earmarked for rails, both local and long-distance.

    The only thing I read about broadband was that Obama would be pushing it farther out into the rural areas of the country and into our (soon-to-be-rebuilt) schools. I didn't hear anything about encouraging competition or improving our generally sad connection speeds.
     
  25. rasmasyean thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Well, whatever that broadband plan is, I hope it puts us into a better position. The new up-n-coming thing these days is video conferencing. Even HD video conferencing. If you're ever seen the new products, it's just amazing. There are many industry efforts and start-ups cropping up now that technology has caught up to the idea. If we don't capitalize on this movement, it will be the other countries that will build themselves up and even attract our start-ups (and linked businesses) to move there. So while they work in the "21st century", we will be still wasting money on gas to travel all over the place in our new roads trying get to work and to give each other jobs involving shovels! :eek:
     

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