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Out of the Box Thinking on Job Creation
Old 03-09-2011, 10:20 AM   #1
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Out of the Box Thinking on Job Creation

FT.com / Comment / Opinion - How we can get America working again

Mort Zuckerman suggests infrastructure projects, financed by user tolls.

I would guess this makes too much sense to attract much political interest.

Ha
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:34 PM   #2
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From the article:

"Many are puzzled why the job market is so bad at a time when corporate profits are so good."

Simple, flogging the remaining employees twice as hard, since flogging seems to be effective, no need for more help.

Fewer employees flogged hard, fearing the unemployment line = more profit. Zuckerman say as much in the next few lines.

By the way, in the linked article, re-read several times I missed the discussion of infrastructure projects. Maybe an error in my reading?
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
By the way, in the linked article, re-read several times I missed the discussion of infrastructure projects. Maybe an error in my reading?
I thought, was I dreaming this?

But here is what I referred to from the article:

There are no short-term solutions. The best longer-term solution, widely understood to reflect a national need, is reinvestment in America’s infrastructure, which would not only create hundreds of thousands of jobs but would also safeguard private sector growth. These projects would have to be managed by an independent public/private commission based on a minimum calculated rate of return and would also have to be tolled so that, over the long run, they would be paid for by their users. The costs would therefore be seen as an investment and not as an addition to our debt, which would spook the bond market. This would enjoy bipartisan support, since Americans can see with their own eyes that the country’s infrastructure is crumbling and because these kinds of investments have a much larger multiplier effect on the job market than any other kind of spending.
Generating new jobs for a growing population is a challenge for the left, right and centre of our political parties and their entrenched positions on economic issues. Millions of men and women are willing and eager to work but their skills and energies are being wasted. It doesn’t make sense.
The writer is editor in chief of US News & World Report and chairman, chief executive and co-founder of Boston Properties


Copyright The Financial Ti
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:55 PM   #4
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The linked article has two paragraphs.

This is the header and first part:
"
How we can get America working again

By Mort Zuckerman
Published: February 24 2011 23:48 | Last updated: February 24 2011 23:48

There is no life in America’s market. The recession officially ended in June 2009, but the Great Jobs Recession continues apace. Since the government beg....."

And the last line:

"June 2009. Nothing has appeared on even the distant horizon that would challenge the judgment of Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, that the job market is the chief source of national concern. "

Maybe need to be subscriber for the rest of the story.

Have no disagreements with what you wrote.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:10 PM   #5
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We are From the Government and We are Here to Help You.

Talk like this makes me nervous.

Who decides what gets funded ? Is it the legislature and their well connected buddies ?

Are the "tolls" only going to be used to fund the improvements or are they just another way to extract more and more money from us ?

There is a long history of public projects going way over budget and way under utilized. In the end many of these projects need be publically bailed out. Look at public rail - for example. Wishful thinking proponents oversell the demand and undersell the costs.

The stimulous program(s) promised much needed infrastructure. Look at the costs and look what we got out of it.
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
The linked article has two paragraphs.

This is the header and first part:
"
How we can get America working again

By Mort Zuckerman
Published: February 24 2011 23:48 | Last updated: February 24 2011 23:48

There is no life in America’s market. The recession officially ended in June 2009, but the Great Jobs Recession continues apace. Since the government beg....."

And the last line:

"June 2009. Nothing has appeared on even the distant horizon that would challenge the judgment of Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, that the job market is the chief source of national concern. "

Maybe need to be subscriber for the rest of the story.

Have no disagreements with what you wrote.
I bet that is it.

Ha
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Old 03-09-2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Talk like this makes me nervous.

Who decides what gets funded ? Is it the legislature and their well connected buddies ?

Are the "tolls" only going to be used to fund the improvements or are they just another way to extract more and more money from us ?

There is a long history of public projects going way over budget and way under utilized. In the end many of these projects need be publically bailed out. Look at public rail - for example. Wishful thinking proponents oversell the demand and undersell the costs.

The stimulous program(s) promised much needed infrastructure. Look at the costs and look what we got out of it.
True, a poorly done or not done at all infrastucture project will not see many projects built.

Ha
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Old 03-10-2011, 02:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Talk like this makes me nervous.

Who decides what gets funded ? Is it the legislature and their well connected buddies ?

Are the "tolls" only going to be used to fund the improvements or are they just another way to extract more and more money from us ?

There is a long history of public projects going way over budget and way under utilized. In the end many of these projects need be publically bailed out. Look at public rail - for example. Wishful thinking proponents oversell the demand and undersell the costs.

The stimulous program(s) promised much needed infrastructure. Look at the costs and look what we got out of it.
That's true for most public projects regardless how projects are funded. On the public projects, all labors get federal or state or city prevailing wages whichever is the highest regardless what labors market rate of pay in the local area where private sector pays their employees. Also, there are ton of safety regulations and overseeing folks who don't actually make contributions to the construction. I can safely say 1 in 5 workers will not do any work other than paperwork for a public project. And in the end, all public work is nothing more than extension of government workers doing the work. More paperwork than necessary IMHO.
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:49 AM   #9
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According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stats, we have invested and plan to invest $105 billion on various infrastructure projects.

I know the toll structure would differentiate the 2 approaches but the $105 billion IMO was very watered down and full of wasteful projects w/ few (from the ones I saw locally) projects being crucial or high priority.
Didn't they spend a crap load of money just to have people put up the signs to recognize a project was part of the ARRA?

I recently heard Obama going on about how we needed to spend more on infrastructure/etc. to stimulate jobs & the economy.

There just always seems to be a fumble when the ball is handed off to the gov't.

- WC (young but skeptical of the gov't being able to do anything right)
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:10 AM   #10
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.......... O'Bama ........
I've heard people claim that he was Kenyan, but Irish is new to me.
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Old 03-10-2011, 09:22 AM   #11
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Ehh good one

Suppose he could be like 'Red' from Shawshank
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:00 PM   #12
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I will agree that it seems that whatever our recent governments have tried to do, they have done badly. But it wasn't always so. Eisenhower's Interstates are still there, also FDR's Hoover and Boulder and many other damns and irrigation and flood control projects, and TVA and rural electrification in the 30s and 40s.

It seems that our government back then could learn from others. Ike looked at the German Autobahn and decided that America needed one too, so he sold it and built it.

IMO we cannot have an industrial nation without some projects that transcend private interests. One example is that we have to find a way to facilitate nuclear power plant building and waste storage siting.

Sooner or later we will have to modernize our bizarrely inefficient health care "system", in a way that transcends individual clinics, even large multi-specialty clinics, all going it alone in their idiosyncratic unconnected ways.

The government won't have to do these things, but it will have to participate in the creation of plans, and referee the process of development. I will admit that I cannot imagine any modern politicians of either party having the brains or fortitude or public spiritedness to take this on.


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Old 03-10-2011, 01:10 PM   #13
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You have a point there. Given a compelling national need for a public project it should indeed be funded.

Regarding the 30's and 40's projects. That was in the days before government unions and OSHA and EPA. need I say more.

regarding nuclear power plants - Good luck with that one. Can we build a nuclear power plant on your block ? Would you be so kind as to store some of the nuclear waste in your refrigerator ?
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:19 PM   #14
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I was just going to post - what's the difference between then and now? why can't gov't get it right?
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:37 PM   #15
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[QUOTE= Would you be so kind as to store some of the nuclear waste in your refrigerator ?[/QUOTE]

Maybe we should make paper weights out of it and share one with each tax payer. Or sell them on the internet. Maybe that is what they did before the EPA?
They would make good night lights!

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Old 03-10-2011, 01:58 PM   #16
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Easy to say, we can't do that. Nah, nah.

But coal is present day harmful- it damages lungs and hearts, and it causes atmospheric warming. These things are certain. Natural gas is suposedly plentiful but apparently there are grave questions about ground water pollution from frac-ing these horizonatal wells in shale formations, and we really do not know how long the reserves will last anyway. These wells have very rapid depletion profiles.

Also, NG may be only half as potent as coal wrt atmospheric warming, but it nevertheless does contribute and we already are at what appear to be risky levels of carbon. We need power, our current solution-fossil fuels- have many known important health and environmental hazards, plus they are running low. Wind and solar will help, but likely will never and certainly will not anytime soon shoulder the base load role, so get smart and bring on the nukes. We can give any county that accepts waste disposal tax abatements, or even special refundable tax credits to residents. People would live in Hell for a little more money.

Avoiding nuclear is likely just another example of driving somewhere instead of flying, because "flying is too dangerous". What these things are is dramatic, and thus emotionally compelling. The French seem to be able to deal with the nuclear question, why can't we?

Anyway, we have had a lot of nuclear plants operating with no problems for many years. Every year the technology gets better, in part because the French are not so irrational as we. Even Three Mile Island was a dud as far as natural disasters are concerned.

Ha
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:10 PM   #17
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Regarding the 30's and 40's projects. That was in the days before government unions and OSHA and EPA. need I say more.
Also before 8000 cable channels with squawking heads whipping the great unwashed into a frenzy...

I participate in government bashing as much as the next guy, but in truth our country works much better than the squawking heads would have you believe.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:12 PM   #18
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Maybe we should make paper weights out of it and share one with each tax payer.
If you take one of those paperweights out of the refrigerator they start to glow and heat up. Sure it saves on lighting and heating costs but can burn a hole on the coffee table. If you do that you need an asbestos coaster underneath.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:13 PM   #19
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Also before 8000 cable channels with squawking heads whipping the great unwashed into a frenzy...

I participate in government bashing as much as the next guy, but in truth our country works much better than the squawking heads would have you believe.
I'm glad you feel that way. You won't feel so bad then when you have to send in more money.
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Old 03-10-2011, 03:25 PM   #20
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Easy to say, we can't do that. Nah, nah.

But coal is present day harmful- it damages lungs and hearts, and it causes atmospheric warming. These things are certain. Natural gas is suposedly plentiful but apparently there are grave questions about ground water pollution from frac-ing these horizonatal wells in shale formations, and we really do not know how long the reserves will last anyway. These wells have very rapid depletion profiles.

Also, NG may be only half as potent as coal wrt atmospheric warming, but it nevertheless does contribute and we already are at what appear to be risky levels of carbon. We need power, our current solution-fossil fuels- have many known important health and environmental hazards, plus they are running low. Wind and solar will help, but likely will never and certainly will not anytime soon shoulder the base load role, so get smart and bring on the nukes. We can give any county that accepts waste disposal tax abatements, or even special refundable tax credits to residents. People would live in Hell for a little more money.

Avoiding nuclear is likely just another example of driving somewhere instead of flying, because "flying is too dangerous". What these things are is dramatic, and thus emotionally compelling. The French seem to be able to deal with the nuclear question, why can't we?

Anyway, we have had a lot of nuclear plants operating with no problems for many years. Every year the technology gets better, in part because the French are not so irrational as we. Even Three Mile Island was a dud as far as natural disasters are concerned.

Ha
I suppose the power plants themselves probably won't melt down and go "China Syndrome" on us. That can probably but not absolutely certainly be avoided. The real issue is what to do with all that very long lived every so slowly decaying waste material. There really is no good solution for that one.

You left out bio-diesel on your energy laundry list. That technology appears capable of providing cheap energy without adding to the greenhouse gas problem.

It's kind of a lost cause though. The Chinese are building a coal fired power plant (on average) every week.
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