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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Talk is cheap: Democrats need to show us the money

Jared Bernstein, who was the Vice President's economist and the most progressive economist on the White House economic team, has from time to time advocated a "FAST" (Fix America's Schools Today) bill for emergency infrastructure investment. It's a great idea, but, of course, he laments the fact that it will go nowhere in Congress. Here is a comment I made on his blog post:

The right wing will spend tons of money advertising its position on public issues, as with the millions spent trying to build public pressure on the President to approve the pipeline. Our side seems to do nothing whatsoever -- except well-meaning blog posts for a minuscule audience -- to build public pressure for anything. Why not a campaign to put pressure on Congress to pass FAST? Or is it all just a sham for creating campaign talking points? Yes, the President cannot promote such a campaign directly -- the excuses are always at hand, aren't they -- but there must be some organization with money that believes in the importance of infrastructure. Is there any reason why the President can't drop a hint to some of his many wealthy friends that he'd appreciate some vocal support?

The President's big infrastructure speech, weak as it was on building a case for the critical need for massive infrastructure investment on a relatively permanent basis, came more than two years after it should have been given, and unfortunately came only after the press had declared the campaign to be on. I am not convinced myself that it's anything more than campaign positioning. The lack of any genuine effort to break through Republican resistance, with the de rigeur whines that it's probably all for naught, don't do anything to convince me I'm wrong.

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