Beware of Obama Bearing Infrastructure
November 23, 2008
by William P. Meyers

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Aside from keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich, the key announced component of Obamonomics so far is heavy infrastructure spending. Given that many members of the Barack Obama economic team are Bill Clinton era globalizers and deregulators, this bears examination.

Infrastructure is a broad word. Spending on infrastructure could mean that the potholes on your street will be fixed, or you might finally get broadband Internet access. It could mean repairing old infrastructure, or building new. It is the choice of what new infrastructure is built that concerns me.

Infrastructure is typically roads (including bridges and railroads), sewage and utilities (including communications), and public buildings.

Infrastructure can be a make-work boondoggle, often on a Congressional district by district basis, that creates profits for a segment of the building industry but little long term public benefit. When massive amounts of money are spent, be assured the taxpayers will be buying a healthy dose of this kind of infrastructure.

Money for schools I can go for. You can't make our public schools too nice, in my opinion. They are often a long way from being close to nice.

Infrastructure can serve special interests. The developers of a new mall or housing development, for instance. It can hurt particular interests too, as when a megastore drains the economy of nearby small towns.

What most concerns me is the likelihood that a big part of any infrastructure spend will be on globalization projects, in particular the free-trade, low-wage corridors being developed under the SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership) plan. This plan would drain the life blood of main street America to build up the global corporate elite. It is a really, really bad plan for the environment and for most American citizens. Promoted by the corporate elite of the United States, it also encompasses Mexico and Canada.

Are you worried about global warming and carbon emissions? Then you should be very wary of new infrastructure. One of the largest components of carbon dioxide emissions is seldom talked about: the creation of cement for concrete. This involves roasting limestone, which releases its carbon dioxide. Limestone itself, which is mostly calcium carbonate, is one of the great carbon dioxide sinks of the planet. When you are talking infrastructure, you are almost always talking substantial, even gargantuan, quantities of concrete. The SPP is particularly concrete intensive. As envisioned, it will use more concrete than any previous construction program in the U.S.

What the country and the world really need is a population program. That is, humans need to start consciously managing the size of the human population for long-term environmental sustainability. Building massive amounts of new infrastructure at this point in time, without a population program, is an exercise in economic or environmental suicide, or probably both.

So follow the infrastructure spending plan. Let your Congress know that if there is spending, you want it to benefit local economies, not international corporations.

Can the leaders of the Democratic Party serve the same corporate interests that the Republican Party serves? Yes We Can!

More data:

SPP (Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America) at Wikipedia
U. S. Government SPP Propaganda site

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts
Put not thy faith in any Greek - Euripides, Iphigenia
"I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts" - Virgil, the Aeneid, Book II, line 49
Generally believe to be a reference to the story of the Trojan Horse in Homer's Iliad.

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