Bring Back the WPA!
Conn Carroll /
DENVER — One of the reasons Heritage came to Denver was to find out what the left expects out of its political leaders if it manages to gain full control of Washington after November’s elections. We are just a couple panels into a week’s worth of policy discussions, but a very simple answer is emerging: massive government and central planning.
On stage now in the Big Tent, Scott Meyers-Lipton of the Gulf Coast Civil Works Project is pushing for passage of H.R. 4048. This Gulf Coast Civic Works Act would create 100,000 government paid, living wage, Davis-Bacon compliant jobs for “rebuilding and developing the lands, communities, and infrastructure impacted by hurricanes and flooding in the Gulf Coast region.”
Meyers-Lipton also wants a President Obama, by executive order, to create CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), WPA (Works Progress Administration), PWA (Public Works Administration) organizations to rebuild infrastructure nationwide. Are these desires that far off from Obama’s policies? The New York Times Magazine reported this weekend:
From there, Obama moved the conversation toward a discussion of how the government could improve the nation’s infrastructure — its backbone of bridges, roads, tunnels, airports and the like, much of which has seen better days. Since the dawn of the Age of Reagan, the idea that government spending can be a good thing for the economy has been out of favor, even among Democrats. But it’s now making something of a comeback, particularly within Obama’s camp. His agenda calls for about $50 billion in new annual spending on various investments, including infrastructure, alternative energy and scientific research. (To put that in perspective, the cut in the payroll tax would cost about $70 billion a year.) …
As any Chicago School economist would remind you, the federal government has made its share of mistakes in this area, a recent example being subsidies for ethanol, which Obama, a farm-state senator, has championed and McCain has opposed. But Obama at least seems to have learned one lesson from the experience: His proposed new infrastructure spending would be overseen by a bipartisan board of unelected officials, rather than members of Congress.
Oh well, at least Obama would let an unelected panel of experts plan our entire economy.