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Show ALL Forums  > Off Topic  > President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repa      Home login  
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 imalwayssmiling
Joined: 7/17/2009
Msg: 1
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairsPage 1 of 2    (1, 2)
President Barack Obama is asking Congress to approve at least $50 billion in long-term spending in the nation's roads, railways and runways in a pre-election effort to show he's trying to stimulate the sputtering economy.

Its learned we are one of the countries that spends the least towards our infrastructure.Several countries including Japan spends at least twice more towards repair and upkeep than us.They see it as doom if ones bridges,dikes, and dams and such stop the masses from getting to work,or the aftermaths damage costing far more pain,death and money than the initial repairs would have cost.

The inspection experts in charge state it will take 0ne trillion dollars to take our bridges from a D+ rating to a A rating.

50 billion is a drop in the bucket and doesn't even address bridges,unless roadways include bridges.Also note dams are on the D rating list also,and of the thousands of dams ,some in critical condition ,and are upstream of large metropolitan areas.Dikes are needed also,remember Katrina !

Some cry aloud we cannot afford to waste money now with so many other pressing problems all around us,and that it is yet another great blunder Obama is about to get us into. I say we cannot wait. Much of the WPA work of yesteryear was just to get men to work and to invigorate the men of the depression men have, when no work is available .I see that this time we have thousands of actual repairs needed to be done.During the WPA era,much of the work was not necessary,some merely adornments to roadways.

I think even more money is needed to fix theses areas of need and it will directly stimulate jobs.I see it as needed ,and money well spent.I think small businesses need to be threaded into the contract awards system, so just the countries largest companies are not the only ones receiving the contract awards.

Do you think rebuilding the infrastructure will stimulate jobs or is just a monumental waste of time and money?
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 2
President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/6/2010 12:32:03 PM
It's pretty tough to send the job of rebuilding infrastructure in the US overseas. I'm having a hard time picturing how reinforcing a bridge in Minnesota could be done in Korea.
 imalwayssmiling
Joined: 7/17/2009
Msg: 3
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/6/2010 1:25:12 PM

Ultimately however , we are broke, and don't have ANY funds, (with the exception , of what we are borrowing from china , just to "hang in limbo" as we are now.)
Great points ! lets look at Katrina.The dikes were a well known problem,we took the stance that we are broke,where will the money come from ! Then we have Katrina and we paid anyways,and where did the money come from then ? was it cheaper to have continued to plug along on the dikes or was the deaths,the loss of neighborhoods never to be rebuilt and the expenses we are still paying for in rebuilding ,a better alternative.

Broke! we are never broke,we poop out money as fast as we can if we want to war,we always have !

The worst large dams on the list are above major metropolitan areas,where full city flooding is a for sure deal if the dam has a collapse.As another Katrina evolves and more people die,will we think that it is now cheaper to pay for the clean up,or had just fixed the dam.

Other countries have found its far cheaper to repair.Look at the hatred that came from Katrina,blame all over the place,mistrust,the world watched our dirty laundry hung out to dry, ,dishonest rebuilding practices ,charges of racism.The cost certainly went beyond money.
 imalwayssmiling
Joined: 7/17/2009
Msg: 4
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/6/2010 2:32:41 PM

Unfortunately, the better question may be "where did the money go ?"
your making a case that we cannot trust the companies that are awarded a contract and that also we cannot trust a city counsel and others where the money goes.You have made made a good point ,but still I see under any circumstance as to why not repair rather than just wait for a catastrophe .Sounds to me is all we need is policing of our money.People ,and groups should go to prison if they fraud us,whether its city counsel,a governor or Corp of Engineers,or a road repair contractor.Dept. of transportation feel they don't have to show their accounting.....I say bull,I'd stop that arrogance right now,who do they think they are A private entity like Enron !

This is exactly why Obma is attacking the wide spread fraud in healthcare,because it means billions are wasted each year in fraud claims but no policing power was effectively in place.We need to police,the Enrons must stop,we allow these things to happen.


History shows what happens when the "great satan" , sit's on the sidelines.
Do you honestly believe the US could just look the other way ?
over my head...how did you mean this and who is this great Satan ?Look what other way?are you referring to a fraudulent war of "weapons of mass destruction",if that's your meaning ,someone should have gone to prison for that monumental con job.Talk about a false war.


who was recently quoted as saying "Never waste a good crisis !" ?
Obama,Hillary,Rahm and Rahm stated http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122721278056345271.html

This opportunity isn't lost on the new president and his team. "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's new chief of staff, told a Wall Street Journal conference of top corporate chief executives this week.

He elaborated: "Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before."
Listen

Rahm Emanuel addresses leaders at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council.

He ticked off some areas where he thought new doors were opening: energy, health, education, tax policy, regulatory reforms. The current atmosphere, he added, even makes bipartisanship easier: "The good news, I suppose, if you want to see a silver lining, is that the problems are big enough that they lend themselves to ideas from both parties for the solution." end quote

That is so true a statement, that it is terrible, it takes a tragedy, to get some work done,and its sad we plead broke until we pay anyways !Boy we are stupid.A dyslexic way of doing things !
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 5
President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/6/2010 6:40:15 PM
I followed that link - it's about the use of foreign contractors.

When I was a student I worked on a major dam construction project here in B.C. The principal contractor was based out of San Francisco. You'll never have restrictions on foreign contractors in your country, since it would lead to similar actions elsewhere. And a heck of a lot more foreign taxpayer money goes to American companies than the other way around.

But, in any construction project, the margins are small. That San Francisco company I worked for no longer exists since they lost money on one too many projects. Very little of the money spent will go to German or Canadian headquarters, even if they win the bidding.
 daynadaze
Joined: 2/11/2008
Msg: 6
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/6/2010 6:59:06 PM
I'm also curious, who is the 'Great Satan'?
 imalwayssmiling
Joined: 7/17/2009
Msg: 7
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/6/2010 9:13:08 PM
Thanks for explaining 6pack.I know, I too ,am still upset ,with senior Bush ,that he never took out Saddam the first time we had him in our sights during the Kuwait war.The whole Iraq war could have been avoided if not for that blunder of judgement ! Usually our presidents don't have a son to come in and finish unfinished business.It was about protecting our oil interests after all,not WMD,which of course is why we never found any.....it was just a story,and hey, a great way to spend a trillion ! a part of why we have money problems now !

Ok,getting off topic bums me out !

I agree to get back on topic,I'm sorry also !
 Earthpuppy
Joined: 2/9/2008
Msg: 8
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 5:17:01 AM
That $50 Billion would only represent a fraction of our current backlog on infrastructure maintenance.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20095291/
snip..
The U.S. highway system is broken. And it’s not clear where the money is going to come from to fix it.

Amid a steady rise in congestion and ongoing deterioration of decades-old roads and bridges, federal and state funding is failing to keep up with the need to maintain existing infrastructure and increase capacity. And the cash shortfall is only going to get worse, with the Federal Highway Trust Fund — supported by a tax on gasoline — projected to run dry in 2009.

Part of the problem stems from the increase in traffic borne by a national highway system that is 50 years old in places. In 1955, the system carried 65 million cars and trucks. Today, that number has nearly quadrupled to 246 million, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

That added stress is taking a toll — in both increased congestion and deterioration of roads and bridges. The list of projects in need of repair is extensive, according to TRIP, a national transportation research group:

•33 percent of the nation's major roads are in “poor or mediocre condition.”
•36 percent of major urban highways are congested.
•26 percent of bridges are “structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.”
Over 2,000 bridges on the interstate highway system are in need of an overhaul, according to Frank Moretti, TRIP's director of research.

It's not clear just how many of those bridges are unsafe. According to the Federal Highway Administration, most bridges in the U.S. Highway Bridge Inventory — 83 percent — are inspected every two years. About 12 percent, those in bad shape, are inspected annually, and 5 percent, those in very good shape, every four years.

The Department of Transportation’s inspector general last year criticized the Highway Administration’s oversight of interstate bridges, saying that flawed calculations of weight limits could pose safety hazards. The Highway Administration agreed its oversight of state bridge inspections needed to be improved.

Several governors on Wednesday ordered state transportation officials to inspect particular bridges or review their inspection procedures.

It's also not clear just how much all this repair will cost, but some estimates put the price tag in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

“If you do not take care of what is needed to maintain the condition and performance of an asset, you start creating a backlog of maintenance and capital improvement that needs to be met,” said Janet Kavinoky, a transportation lobbyist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We are amassing — and have amassed — a huge backlog when it comes to our infrastructure.”
end snip..
 cookie22222
Joined: 8/4/2007
Msg: 9
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 6:22:52 AM
I was wondering where this was in the FIRST stimulus package. What there was, from what I've seen, hasn't done much more than produce really expensive signs that the stimulus money was spent on this and that.
 Earthpuppy
Joined: 2/9/2008
Msg: 10
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 6:46:37 AM
If you've traveled much this summer, you might have noticed lots of traffic delays due to road work. I saw several signs touting stimulus funding on projects.
 imalwayssmiling
Joined: 7/17/2009
Msg: 11
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 7:12:46 AM
In phoenix and the metropolitan areas,road construction is everywhere.Our state wasted 6 months before they spent a penny.They later explained it was a ton of red tape going through the contract award system,and all the other red tape.They also were forced to spend millions to hire a company able to orchestrate all the projects and cut through the tape.It took nearly a year after Obama gave the money to get the state at a state level to be able to get moving.Obama was jimmy 0n the spot, then at the state level it becomes a crawl.Our state still has not touched lots of the money.I hear many states are still sitting on there money or parts of the money for what ever reason.Obama should not be faulted by ineffective state practice.Citizens should turn their protest over to their own Governor and Senator.Obama did his part.

Each state needs to figure out how to move through their own red tape and roadblocks better if we are to get anywhere with the next money.Our state claimed it always was a slow process,could take 2-3-4 years,they thought that was fine.Obama said we penalize you if you don't respond quickly.Jan Brewer said we had no idea how to quicken the process,hence spending 10-15 million to hire an expert company savvy at just that.

Well Jan and other states,start learning, our people are depending on you.Stop wasting every moment in your and our Senator re election and get to work.Our Senator spent the couple years before that,campaigning all over the country to become president.Our Senator spent year after year campaigning,McCain is never a Senator for us,he's always trying to better the job he already has.That's bad for a state.Imagine becoming a teacher then spending every day campaigning to be a something else rather than teaching in your classroom.That's appalling !
 slybandit
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 12
President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 7:15:45 AM
I do find it puzzling that people still ask "where is the money going to come from."

It's pretty obvious where the money is going to come from.

Americans' strangely misguided hatred of taxation means that the money is going to come from two places. It will be borrowed from foreigners-- basically the uber-wealthy and sovereign wealth funds (Saudis, Singapore, China, etc.), and printed en masse by the Fed.

It's actually a great scam, if you think about it. Borrow money from people that have it, then tax them indirectly by printing more of it so that you inflate the debt out of meaningful existence. Congratulations, your prized green paper is now worth half as much because I ran the photocopier overtime.

The catch, of course, is that the U.S. is just perpetually postponing the inevitable day of reckoning when the rest of the world has had enough of the protection racket and either turns to some other currency as the reserve / hard currency of last resort, or, more plausibly, to holding commodities and natural resources. My guess is that as soon as the Chinese collectively confront the demographic crisis created by the one-child policy, the jig will be up. The same tank of gas can't be in a Chinese car and an American one at the same time.

Which is why I refer to the hatred of taxation as strangely misguided. The alternatives all involve dumping the problem into the collective laps of the next generation, just like having less than two children per woman does.

The U.S. economy, and thus the world economy, is fundamentally f-cked because of the collective refusal to confront the issue of wealth distribution. Henry Ford figured it out decades ago. You have to pay the workers enough to be able to buy what they collectively produce. Otherwise you wind up with a society with a vast underclass and a few uber-rich, which inevitably falls apart when the underclass loses any faith whatsoever in the system and refuses to man the walls when the barbarians come knocking.

Roughly since Reagan, the U.S. economy has been operating on credit, on the rather ridiculous premise that if you just let the workers borrow enough, they'll be able to consume enough to keep the economy rolling. A fifth-grader can figure out that that can only work for so long.

Stimulus spending is exactly the same thing, writ large. Build up a deficit and dump it on the next generation, for the sake of saving the economy now. Sure, there are smarter and dumber variations on the basic theme of borrow and spend, and infrastructure spending is smarter than mere corporate welfare, such as rescuing AIG and GM from the richly deserved consequences of incompetence.
 matchlight
Joined: 1/31/2009
Msg: 13
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 8:34:31 AM
^^^^^I agree with much of what you wrote. I think rescuing big corporations from failure--what's been called "lemon socialism"--is a foolish policy. And I agree that governments often wipe out their debts by purposely causing inflation.

But I don't understand your comments about the distribution of wealth. One reason Ford paid workers $5 a day was to help create a market for the cars he was making. But cars were still novel, and it was important just to get a lot of them on the roads, where people could see them in action. Ford was smart enough to realize his workers themselves could also be customers and salesmen.

I don't see that as evidence for your general claim that employers have to pay workers at least so much, or the society will devolve into class warfare. The U.S. didn't collapse because other employers paid lower wages in 1919 than Ford.

There are always local and temporary distortions. If there are many more people in Vista City willing and able to mow lawns than there are lawns, the only ones mowing them will be those who do good work cheap. Or, if a factory opens where the skilled workers it needs are scarce, it will have to offer higher than normal wages to attract enough of them.

If there's some reason to assume that employers normally pay employees less than market wages, I'd like to know what it is. In an open labor market, the economic value of employees determines their wages--employers don't get to pay them as little as they choose.
 slybandit
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 14
President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 12:00:41 PM
@ matchlight:

The offhand reference to Ford was not intended to be "evidence" in support of the more general claim, which was (in fact) *not* that society would "devolve into class warfare". Ford actually had a bunch of reasons for doing what he did, not just creating a market for product.

I deliberately avoided employing that phrase of Marxist origin, precisely because of the ideological baggage attached to the term. You'll forgive me, hopefully, for pointing out that trying to attach that term to my arguments is an effort at misdirection and an appeal to guilt-by-association. Marxism is largely discredited since the collapse of the Soviet Union, thus the attempt to associate my argument with a discredited system, thereby undermining it by selective use of pejorative vocabulary.

The more general claim, which was not really fully spelled out, is that the long-term survival of any society is inherently dependent on its capacity for collective action. Some writers have used the term "asabiya", which was coined by the Moslems, as a useful label for this. The general claim is that at least the majority of a society has to at least perceive that its maintenance and survival is in their interest-- often literally, as in, something worth fighting for-- for that society to survive. Persistent and ingrained maldistribution of wealth and power undermines the ability of the so-called "losers" in the social order to believe (even incorrectly) that they have any stake in maintaining it. If you want examples, feel free to refer to any real-world empire that collapsed, from Rome on down to the Soviet Union.

As for requiring a "reason to assume that employers normally pay employees less than market wages" you will note, again, that this is NOT what I said. I was talking about the overall distribution of wealth, not of wages-- there is a pretty elementary difference. And simply labelling something "market" does not give it a magical moral quality, by the way. The Chicag0-school economists want us to believe that, but it ain't so.

On that subject, spare us the rehash of Econ 101-- please read Stiglitz on information economics if you still think the "Invisible Hand" theory is not completely discredited by the rather basic insight that perfect information is absent from any real-world market. Feel free to start here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=620651.

This Adam Smith business works fine in a market that basically consists in fungible goods, where the buyers and the sellers each have reasonably complete information about the goods. The employment market is not remotely like that, as anyone who has sat through a job interview (on either side) can confirm.
 slybandit
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 15
President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 12:40:46 PM
@ 6pack2go:

Again, I'll invite you to read Stiglitz also.

What you are referring to as a "lack of economic understanding" is anything but that. Most people have a better grasp of real-world economics than this misunderstood Econ 101, which is almost a secular religion among many. It's pernicious as H*ll, and is regularly trotted out on behalf of maintaining whatever injustices in the existing order happen to be the flavour of the month, generally by those who perceive themselves as benefitting from those injustices.

The market fundamentalism you are talking about is just discredited. If you can answer Stiglitz's points about information asymmetry in a manner that would rescue neo-Classical Chicago-school economics, you're wasting time on here, you should be writing the Nobel prize people, because they gave him one for ashcanning neo-Classical economics with his work on information asymmetry.

Now I will agree with you that the Chinese habit of holding U.S. dollars gives them an incentive not to destroy the value of their own assets. The Chinese were basically forced into doing that, because the only consumer economy massive enough to absorb the production surplus that their billions of workers would produce was the U.S., and so the Chinese had to lend the Americans the money to buy that surplus. But you are assuming the Chinese have meaningful control over the decision to sell off those dollars, or when it has to happen. They knew they were going to have the world's largest demographic crisis on their hands within a few decades and they're saving to cover those costs right now, having intentionally chosen the demographic crisis as the alternative to massive overpopulation and impoverishment. Basically they're in buy and hold mode right now, and waiting to spend when social unrest in China gets bad enough that they have no choice. But that's another topic.

(And the Chinese currency is the "yuan".)
 HalftimeDad
Joined: 5/29/2005
Msg: 16
President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 1:43:11 PM
I've read a bunch of this guy's posts, and I'm pretty sick of them. Off topic; wildly inaccurate and just to address the falacies in a single paragraph would require more energy than they deserve.

So, I'll just address the very last thing he said. There is a Nobel Prize for medicine - that's where genetics work is rewarded. Nobel Peace prizes are for areas of improving the human condition. Mother Theresa; Al Gore; etc.
 imalwayssmiling
Joined: 7/17/2009
Msg: 17
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President Obama asks Congress for $50 billion for infrastructure repairs
Posted: 9/7/2010 2:28:16 PM

I have a better idea... cut the defense budget by $ 100 billion and put it all into infrastructure... that way we stimulate the economy and we don't increase the debt either.
Good thinkin,I'd like to buy you a beer for that idea!
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