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Old 12-23-2011, 11:44 AM  
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Networks Push for Infrastructure Spending, Ignore Cost and Danger of Federal Failures
ABC, CBS and NBC silent about mistakes that took lives during Hurricane Katrina, wasted countless tax dollars for years.

By Julia A. Seymour (http://www.mrc.org/bmi/articles0/201...Failures_.html
Friday, October 28, 2011 1:37 PM EDT



Network reporters have recently been promoting White House calls for infrastructure spending since President Obama pitched his "new" jobs plan on Sept. 8. The pitch for road and bridge money wasn't actually new, since that is what he claimed his $783 billion stimulus would do to create jobs.

What ABC, CBS and NBC chose to ignore in recent infrastructure stories were all the examples of federal engineering mistakes that wasted taxpayer money and in the case of Hurricane Katrina actually cost many lives. According to Chris Edwards of Cato Institute, the oldest federal infrastructure agencies, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Army Corps of Engineers, have a long history of failure.

"Some of the highest-profile failures include the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. That disaster dramatically proved the shortcomings of the Corps' approach to flood control, which it had stubbornly defended despite outside criticism," Edwards wrote on Oct. 21. "Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was like a dreadful repeat. The flooding was in large part a man-made disaster stemming from poor engineering by the Corps and misdirected funding by Congress."

Between Sept. 8 and Oct. 25 the networks have mentioned potential infrastructure spending in 39 stories on ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news programs. The political argument over such spending was typically presented in terms of how to pay for it, rather than "should it be done?" After all, as CBS's Nancy Cordes claimed, infrastructure has "widespread support."

But political support doesn't prove that something is a good economic idea or a benefit to society. The track record of federal infrastructure is littered with wasteful pet projects, engineering mistakes and ecological damage. Yet, not a single one of the 39 stories mentioned any examples of waste, inefficiency or engineering failures that have been accomplished through federal infrastructure spending. One story mentioned the tragic Minnesota bridge collapse to support the idea that the federal government needs to spend more on repairs.

Edwards brought up many of those historic "missteps" including Idaho's Teton Dam, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, Katrina and other federal infrastructure disasters in a Washington Post op-ed.

Not familiar with those examples? The Teton Dam was built by the same federal agency that built the Hoover Dam. But "based on shoddy engineering and a flawed economic analysis," Edwards explained "it collapsed catastrophically in 1976, just a year after it was built."

Hi op-ed made the case that despite both political parties' desire to spend money on such projects, "Federal infrastructure spending has a long and painful history of pork-barrel politics and bureaucratic bungling, with money often going to wasteful and environmentally damaging projects."

Ronald Utt, Ph.D., a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, wrote back in 2008 (before Obama took office and spent nearly $800 billion on stimulus) that embracing New Deal policies like infrastructure spending would do little to create jobs.

With the unemployment rate stuck at 9.1 percent and more than 2.2 million net jobs lost since Obama took office, it appears Utt was right.

Administration Plans to Break Up 'Jobs' Plan, Networks Embrace Infrastructure

Although Obama's jobs bill just failed to pass the Senate, the administration has made it clear they still intend to pursue the plan. CBS's Erica Hill asked Vice President Joe Biden on Oct. 12, "Does this now get broken up into smaller pieces?"

Biden said yes, "it will be broken up." He specifically mentioned infrastructure spending as something that "historically" both parties have agreed on.

Infrastructure spending is also supported by the network news media. On Sept. 23, Diane Sawyer of ABC said there were "so many great infrastructure projects" going on in the U.S., but complained that Chinese firms and Chinese workers were the ones hired to complete the projects.

In that report, Chris Cuomo said the proposed $190 million bridge project in Alaska, and other bridge projects in California and New York "sounds like a great opportunity for government spending to actually lead to real jobs..."

The networks also promoted the first stimulus on the basis that infrastructure spending would lead to job creation. CBS's Chip Reid told "Early Show" viewers on Jan. 12, 2009, "The total size of the plan is about $750 to $800 billion - roughly $300 billion is for tax cuts for businesses and individuals. The rest will be spent on everything from roads and bridges to renewable energy to create three to four million jobs."

The media continually repeats the idea that government spending on roads, bridges and other sorts of projects creates jobs and spurs economic growth. But as Utt wrote in 2008, Japan's lost decade would indicate that it does not hugely benefit the economy. In fact, it can actually make things worse.

"Japanese fiscal policy during the 1990s was flamboyantly unrestrained, and during that decade no other advanced industrialized country had expanded government spending by nearly as much. Starting in 1991, government spending (outlays) in Japan accounted for just 31.6 percent of the nation's GDP-one of the lowest among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)," Utt wrote. That year was also the high mark for Japanese prosperity according to him.

Japan increased government spending throughout the 1990s, starting a "massive nationwide program of infrastructure investment." Ten different stimulus packages for infrastructure were instituted. By 2000, according to Utt, "Japan's per capita gross national income had fallen to 73.7 percent of that the U.S. [from 86 percent]."
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:00 PM  
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Originally Posted by YelloJeep View Post
Okay, backing up a little bit.... So you think we should all do our part and spend even more money that we don't have? So am I part of the problem since I don't go out and buy a bunch of new junk?
The problem is a lack of consumer confidence. Where the general consensus is that people should cut back and anticipate a recession, they tend to create one, or deepen one. If you have no confidence that you will be able to afford to pay your bills and so you cut back on your consumer products, yes, you're part of the problem. All of us who react that way are a part of the problem.

What's the solution? There's no easy one. Restore consumer confidence. Rabidly assault the doom-and-gloom naysayers, prove them not just wrong, not just pessimistic, but antagonistically aggressive, apocalypse fetishists. Treat them like anyone with half a brain treated Harold Camping.

This "live a simple life" bull**** is fine for the individual. By all means, adopt an Amish lifestyle, eschewing all of the high-tech products and services that keep Americans working. But don't try to pass off fewer dollars changing hands in the local economy as some sort of economic benefit, let alone a necessity.
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Old 12-24-2011, 07:13 AM  
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You never owned a buisness "Mr. adjectiVe"...I'm going to start the 79' Ford, wrap some homemade presents, sit and talk with loved ones far & near today.... YhanKs for the ecomoic lEason..

lOve mE
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:55 AM  
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As any business owner (or former owner) knows it's hard to predict which businesses will succeed. The government puts itself into the position of making such predictions and risking public money in the process. Those predictions assume the validity of academician's theories and tilt to special interest pleading and political skullduggery including but not limited to crony capitalism. Then comes the accountability problem with overseers that are incompetent trying to manage far beyond both their skills and resources.

Stimulants work much as they do in the human body, they leave a hangover. We become a part of the problem because we are in the mix as pawns on the table. Failed businesses impact both the companies and the employees. Public funds used as stimulants offer temporary employment but add to deficit and debt. We need to say no to investing taxpayer money at the whim of our political scoundrels of either stripe.

Probably the one thing that could help the economy would be lower gas prices, but that would require drilling yesterday and take time to go full circle. If gas prices were lower every are of the economy would be enhanced. It would even encourage me to spend as I would drive more often to that city 40 miles distant to do some window shopping and maybe even buy something.

Recovery will take time and the government will probably increase that time rather than shortening it. Then there is the debt problem . . .
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Old 12-24-2011, 10:48 AM  
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How many of us driving older gas burning vehicles does it take to garner enough tax revenue to subsidize one of those preppy individuals buying a Chevy Volt? Our government at work just doing what's best for us and the economy!
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Old 12-24-2011, 11:53 AM  
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Originally Posted by Eddie_T View Post
As any business owner (or former owner) knows it's hard to predict which businesses will succeed. The government puts itself into the position of making such predictions and risking public money in the process. Those predictions assume the validity of academician's theories and tilt to special interest pleading and political skullduggery including but not limited to crony capitalism. Then comes the accountability problem with overseers that are incompetent trying to manage far beyond both their skills and resources.

Stimulants work much as they do in the human body, they leave a hangover. We become a part of the problem because we are in the mix as pawns on the table. Failed businesses impact both the companies and the employees. Public funds used as stimulants offer temporary employment but add to deficit and debt. We need to say no to investing taxpayer money at the whim of our political scoundrels of either stripe.

Probably the one thing that could help the economy would be lower gas prices, but that would require drilling yesterday and take time to go full circle. If gas prices were lower every are of the economy would be enhanced. It would even encourage me to spend as I would drive more often to that city 40 miles distant to do some window shopping and maybe even buy something.

Recovery will take time and the government will probably increase that time rather than shortening it. Then there is the debt problem . . .
I almost passed out.....someone I can understand
Thanks for helping us "slow" people out
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