Seeking Alpha

Barton Biggs paints a bleak outlook for the developed world with only huge government...

Barton Biggs paints a bleak outlook for the developed world with only huge government intervention likely to improve things. "What the U.S. really needs is a massive infrastructure program… similar to the WPA back in the 1930s," he tells WSJ; without it, the U.S. is stuck with annual growth at 1.5%-2% for the foreseeable future.
Comments (15)
  • HiSpeed
    , contributor
    Comments (1201) | Send Message
     
    It's true that the US does need massive infrastructure improvements. However, generally speaking, huge government intervention in most sectors seems to either postpone the day of reckoning (thereby making it even MORE costly) and/or make bad situations even worse.

     

    How about LESS hostile govt and MORE private sector which creates the jobs and helps to pay the taxes that parasitic govt so desperately needs?

     

    To phrase it another way, just do the opposite of what chief Obama-apologist Krugman advocates and we'll likely be on the path to growth.
    1 Jul 2011, 05:41 PM Reply Like
  • TimR
    , contributor
    Comments (251) | Send Message
     
    The WPA projects did provide needed infrastructure, but they made virtually no difference at all in terms of economic growth or employment. It seems odd that anyone would seriously suggest that FDR's economic policies are an answer to low economic growth.
    1 Jul 2011, 05:42 PM Reply Like
  • plcombs
    , contributor
    Comments (57) | Send Message
     
    I do belive that today programs like the WPA would has less impact than in the 30's.

     

    The money spent during that time was basically a Delta neutral situation, money in and out in the end. However it stayed in the US economy largly, the same program today would be diluted because so much of what would be used would be purchased from other economys around the world.

     

    In effect less bang for the buck unless the USA wants to attempt the task of bolstering along with ours emerging markets and developed economys.
    2 Jul 2011, 03:10 PM Reply Like
  • Griller
    , contributor
    Comments (151) | Send Message
     
    You talk to old-timers who actually survived the Great Depression and they will nearly unanimously say it was Roosevelt's WPA projects that saved the day for real workaday people. Watch or read the Grapes of Wrath. That is no joke.
    1 Jul 2011, 05:46 PM Reply Like
  • TimR
    , contributor
    Comments (251) | Send Message
     
    I respect that. I remember my grandfather - who was no left-winger - talking about how FDR brought hope when it was desperately needed, and social security as well as infrastructure jobs.

     

    But he also pointed out the disastrous failures of FDR. The positive aspects were not nearly enough to make up for the 79% top income tax rates and the intense anti-business rhetoric and regulations from that time - with top taxes on dividends that essentially transferred almost the whole amount to the government.

     

    The unemployment rate was still well into the double digits as late as 1940. 1937 was the only moderately good year, and unemployment was still very high.

     

    We can't afford another huge spending campaign by the government. The private sector has to be allowed to flourish again.
    1 Jul 2011, 10:50 PM Reply Like
  • 1980XLS
    , contributor
    Comments (3333) | Send Message
     
    Perhaps,

     

    But would Obama support repeal of Davis-Bacon in order to give taxpayers some bang for the buck?

     

    NOT!
    1 Jul 2011, 06:11 PM Reply Like
  • tigersam
    , contributor
    Comments (1711) | Send Message
     
    2% annual growth is not bad. Sometimes higher annual growth cause several other problems.
    1 Jul 2011, 08:24 PM Reply Like
  • TimR
    , contributor
    Comments (251) | Send Message
     
    Any growth rate that does not produce jobs is bad. 2% growth is much too low to make a dent in the current jobless rate, especially because productivity remains relatively strong.
    1 Jul 2011, 08:27 PM Reply Like
  • tigersam
    , contributor
    Comments (1711) | Send Message
     
    Jobs are already gone to overseas and not coming back. Greedy corporations and corrupt politicians supported that right after President Clinton.
    1 Jul 2011, 08:34 PM Reply Like
  • enigmaman
    , contributor
    Comments (2679) | Send Message
     
    "What the U.S. really needs is a massive infrastructure program… similar to the WPA back in the 1930s"

     

    Didn't Mr Bigg get the Presidents memo when he recently declared on national TV "That there are no shovel ready jobs"

     

    All the Presidents talk about rebuilding Americas infrastructure was just a ruse to get America on board with his stimulus package which in itself was a ruse to support the unions, which I believe was also the intent of FDR plans as well, so in retrospect maybe Obama honestly believed his was an infrastructure plan modeled after FDRs, except instead of planting trees Obama has been planting seeds of discontent!
    1 Jul 2011, 08:26 PM Reply Like
  • 1980XLS
    , contributor
    Comments (3333) | Send Message
     
    "Shovel Ready" really meant the money & BS was ready to be shoveled to unions to buy their votes.

     

    Davis-Bacon,

     

    My region, free market $30 per hour .

     

    Obama Davis-Bacon world, $70 per hour in my region.

     

    Nothing like responsible use of taxpayer's money.

     

    The Union Thugs Thank You, and promise to vote for you.

     

    www.abc.org/Government...
    1 Jul 2011, 09:26 PM Reply Like
  • kmi
    , contributor
    Comments (4526) | Send Message
     
    When Obama passed the compromise package that included an extension to the Bush tax cuts, it was widely hailed as a sideload stimulus package.

     

    Facing facts, the shovel ready 'build america' bonds program did nothing but extend solvency for some states, the tax cuts had no meaningful impact, so a new direction is needed.

     

    I don't know what form it will take but certainly this looks like it may be put on the table.
    1 Jul 2011, 09:22 PM Reply Like
  • HiSpeed
    , contributor
    Comments (1201) | Send Message
     
    Even if there were any shovel ready projects, good luck getting through the plethora of onerous EPA regulations which prevent economic progress.
    2 Jul 2011, 12:31 PM Reply Like
  • plcombs
    , contributor
    Comments (57) | Send Message
     
    A few weeks ago when Mr.Obama was asked about the shovel ready jobs..his reponse was.."they weren't as shovel ready as we expected" he then laughed.

     

    www.theblaze.com/stori.../

     

    Glad he thinks it was funny...
    2 Jul 2011, 03:01 PM Reply Like
  • KJP712
    , contributor
    Comments (458) | Send Message
     
    For someone to create a job they must know what one is.
    2 Jul 2011, 09:33 PM Reply Like
DJIA (DIA) S&P 500 (SPY)
ETF Hub
ETF Screener: Search and filter by asset class, strategy, theme, performance, yield, and much more
ETF Performance: View ETF performance across key asset classes and investing themes
ETF Investing Guide: Learn how to build and manage a well-diversified, low cost ETF portfolio
ETF Selector: An explanation of how to select and use ETFs