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Friday, September 3, 2010

A really good idea and one we had before.

The business columnist in the Washington Post, Steve Pearlstein, has the same idea we advanced in The Great Recession Conspiracy. Here is the meat of the column.

For several decades, policymakers have tossed around the idea of an National Infrastructure Bank to provide loans and matching grants for highway and transit projects, a new air traffic control system, high-speed rail, clean-energy generation and smart electric grids, and an expansion of state college and university systems. Over the years, this idea has won bipartisan support from business groups, labor unions, governors and big-city mayors. And with interest rates at record lows, construction costs down 25 percent and so many construction workers unemployed, there is no better time to launch such an effort.

With an independent board, a professional staff and its own sources of operating funds, the Infrastructure Bank could be insulated, as much as possible, from political influence and the pork-laden congressional appropriation process. And by devoting the first three years of revenue from the "millionaires" tax increase, it could be capitalized initially at $100 billion, enough to leverage investments of two or three times that amount over the coming decade.

This ought to be a no-brainer. Given the economic challenges we face and the anxiety we all feel, if Democrats can't make a convincing case for raising taxes on 315,000 millionaires and using the money to rebuild the country's aging infrastructure, then maybe they don't deserve to be reelected.

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