A central policy recommendation touted by President Obama during his multistate bus tour this week is the creation of an infrastructure bank.
But does it make sense to be talking about a new government program while we are battling with the highest national debt ever? In a word, yes.
Despite the unprecedented importance to our economy of bringing down our deficits and our debt, make no mistake that the federal government will continue to make decisions on where to spend hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars every year. Our challenge is to identify the wisest federal expenditures. To be sure, an infrastructure bank such as the BUILD Act facilitates private investment in public infrastructure–reducing the taxpayers' share. It would encourage private investors to help develop the electrical grid and transportation and water infrastructure.
This is just the sort of federal expenditure that Americans are looking for–one that requires a modest initial investment, creates wealth in the private sector, and quickly becomes self-sustainable.
Now is the time to finally enact an infrastructure bank. By ignoring this problem, we are in fact dragging down our economy which cannot afford any more weight. A degrading infrastructure harms the economy. It's time to turn this sad fact on its head and allow our infrastructure to drive our economy, not hinder it.