The United States must raise infrastructure spending by 1 percentage point of GDP to meet future needs

 

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Chart
Source: McKinsey

Category: Economy, Taxes and Policy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

20 Responses to “McKinsey: US Infrastructure UnderInvestment vs Other Developed Nations”

  1. rwboomtown says:

    Are we spending current dollars efficiently? My guess is no. Get rid of prevailing wage laws on all critical infrastructure projects. Consider using prison labor. Consider a type of job corp for college students. There is a lot of grunt work in infrastructure labor that is not skilled (I could teach some one how to drive a steam roller in a day). Do we want a first class infrastructure or do we want to spend a lot of money?

    • Init4good says:

      Are we spending current dollars efficiently? I think probably so, as long as contracts are competed properly, which I know is asking a lot.

      Do we want a first class infrastructure or do we want to spend a lot of money?
      We want both please…spending money on infrastructure provides jobs, and those workers spend it – it goes back into the economy.

    • DeDude says:

      How about slaves – if we institute slavery again the investor class pigs could get to keep even more of their not so hard earned money. It may be catastrophic for demand (and therefore the economy), but it will feel so good if you are a 1%’er.

  2. theexpertisin says:

    Previous emphasis by the current administration resulted in tens of billions of dollars for infrastructure “shove ready” projects Big Labor benefits.diverted to prop up Big Machine politicians in urban areas and
    Big Labor hacks.This cabal is not to be trusted to do anything that does not result in payola for the constituency block vote they need to keep up the war on retirees, savers and the middle class.

    Maybe he next administration will bring infrastructure improvements to our country without political strings attached to buy votes..

    • Bridget says:

      Grrrrrrr. That whole “shovel ready” canard made me want to throw rotten tomatoes at my television. State departments of transportation, which actually employ engineers and planners, can probably be counted on to have some shovel ready projects sitting on the shelf, but other state and local agencies and boards just don’t work that way. It takes money and planning, plenty of both, to get to the shovel ready stage. Our parents and grandparents did it when they built the interstate highway system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System

      I would be totally interested in paying taxes to fund a well planned and executed series of projects to say, make us energy independent in 30 years. Or whatever. But I’d like a modern version of the Interstate Highway Act of 1956. What are we going to build, where are we going to build it, and what will it accomplish? But flush billions and billions down the toilet on projects that local pols can’t persuade their own voters to fund, or worse, on payola and waste? No thank you.

  3. patfla says:

    Looks like everyone is underspending relative to need with the exception of the Japanese and the Australians. I’d love to see the same numbers for China except that I’m almost certain that any Chinese numbers would be deeply wrong and misleading. And, in part, meant to mislead.

    Well, the Japanese are the world masters of pork barrel. China might take the crown but then we’ll never know anytime soon the real Chinese numbers and for that matter I’m not sure the central govt in China necessarily has the real numbers – so out of hand are their provincial officials. Add to that the general opportunism and unscrupulousness of the Chinese business class.

    What’s the time frame for these numbers? I don’t see any indication of that but as regards Australia they’re still surfing (the now rapidly collapsing) wave of Chinese commodity demand.

    So does that leave these numbers in a statistically meaningful position? I know the US is wringing its hand over the woeful state of its infrastructure and I’m sure there’s some truth to that however it’s also a leitmotif of The Discourse.

    • Lyle says:

      Austrailia is of course still building out its infrastructure in the first place, for example only recently did they build a railroad from South Australia to Darwin, so it is a special case, if you look at both the US and UK during the times they were building infrastructure out originally you would see a greater percentage. Japan of course is the poster child for infrastructure as a stimulus program, which has not worked to well in their case.

      Of course during at least the great buildouts in US infrastructure in the 1880s the labor share of total gdp was very low.

  4. constantnormal says:

    … or, we could simply outsource the work to China, where the wages are cheap and the quality of work is satisfactory. After all, why hire Americans who will plow their wages back into this economy, when we can save a buck by sending the work (and money) elsewhere?

    There are already plenty of Chinese construction firms employed here, following exactly that logic.

    And believe it or not, a lot of work nowadays requires certain skill sets that are not typically found in prisons or recent graduates.

    And have you actually driven a steamroller? Most heavy machinery requires some time on task to become accustomed to the greater momentum and inertia involved. I’d really like to avoid having someone teach how to drive a steamroller who has not actually done so himself.

  5. G.W. says:

    First — Being a roller-operator is like playing the guitar: One of the easiest instruments to play; One of the hardest to play well.
    You can teach a person to make the machine roll back and forth in a day.
    To teach him to be a competent, reliable roller OPERATOR will take a couple years…..

    Second — I’ve been listening to the engineers’ and constructors’ professional organizations shouting warnings about deteriorating infrastructure since the late 60′s. NO ONE is listening.
    Because there is no political advantage to it: “During my administration, we fixed six old deteriorating water mains and three sewers that were about to collapse. And we replaced that old bridge where Main Street crosses No Name Creek !!!” Try getting votes with THAT schpiel!!

  6. DTouche says:

    Piloting power equipment to obtain code compliant edifi requires more skill than one might think.

    I wish Obama focused on jobs first instead of other topics. Some of my jobs brainstorming since leaving the Submarine Force is listed below:

    1.Make work jobs for unskilled people that cannot or will not retrain

    2. Public service jobs for single mothers at their childrens schools (6-6.5 hours per day during the school year)

    3. Mandatory 3-5 year relocation for parolees to remote locations to work for the government in apprentice programs with sequestered earnings and minimal communications with the outside world

    The common theme with these three potential programs is providing a clearer image of incentive while bypassing traditional barriers/excuses for tough case under/unemployed groups. I am a conservative but would gladly pay increased taxes provided that these jobs pay $30-50K/year with benefits while conferring certified skills, building resumes, restoring confidence, and providing a personal finance reset for disenfranchised groups.

    Subsidize personal growth instead of subsidizing potential personal sloth.

  7. Moss says:

    This is emblematic of the spending ‘priorities’ we have. Absolutely insane to do this.

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/26/news/economy/detroit-bankruptcy-arena/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_business

    • Public funded Stadiums across the money is essentially welfare for billionaires. Its shite

      • DTouche says:

        Agreed. It would be nice to see subsidy help real people as opposed to billionaire team owners and millionaire players. Construction jobs associated with stadiums are temporary and the vast majority of stadium jobs available for locals are low wage part time work. These sports projects are a great barometer of our priorities.

    • flakester says:

      Insane, and in bread and circuses mode.

  8. bear_in_mind says:

    What’s really troubling is how a rabid, vocal minority has achieved such a profound impact on the content and tone of modern civics. How can we be so myopic?!

    Imagine how American citizens in 1950 or 1960 would evaluate this data? Do you suppose they’d be wringing their hands over INVESTING in the future?

  9. clipb says:

    My idea is this: Create a national public/private infrastructure program. fund it, say, 1/2 Federal and 1/2 corporate money brought back here as part of a repatriation deal. there’s ~1.5 trn out there that doesn’t want to return due to the tax issue. So give them a large exemption as long as they put a big chunk into the infrastructure pot. Obviously something along these lines will require strong, knowledgeable oversite/management, but should generate literally millions of jobs and get our decaying infrastructure back on track. I would love to see some kind of relevant analysis of this, so far absolutely nothing.

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