The United States is facing a number of increasingly serious economic issues, but political gridlock in Washington makes it nearly impossible for these problems to have any kind of resolution before the they reach critical mass. The Keynesian model for addressing the problems of an economy teetering on the brink of recession, stubbornly high unemployment and a decaying infrastructure by increasing fiscal spending are running into the seemingly insoluble problem of significantly reducing the national debt. The purpose of this short paper is to propose a possible solution to the problems of a decaying infrastructure, which will help reduce the number of people who are unemployed, without adding to the national debt.
The infrastructure in the United States has deteriorated to the point where it now threatens the future economic survival of our country. This has occurred through long term neglect and the refusal of our governmental leaders to address this problem, which has now become a serious crisis. Unfortunately, the government's financial problems limit what can be done using currently available tax money, so it is imperative that other means be found to finance these repairs before the infrastructure reaches an even more critical point.
My proposal is that the federal government establishes a special fund to pay for infrastructure repairs toward which individuals and businesses can voluntarily contribute. These contributions would be partially tax deductible (say 50% to 60%) so that the government would not lose all of the tax revenues they would otherwise receive and which would expand the amount of financing available for this goal.
As an additional incentive to get people and businesses to contribute, contributors could go to a web site and enter their home or business zip code, then choose one of five or ten projects listed within a certain distance of their zip code where they can designate where half of their contribution could go. The remaining half would then go to where it is needed most, which could include the projects selected by the individual or business. Once enough money is available to fully fund a listed project, that project could be removed from the web site and others would be added.
This proposal would accomplish several things. It would expand the amount of money available to rehabilitate the infrastructure in this country, increasing the number of people with jobs, without increasing taxes or increasing the deficit. By being able to designate where half of their contributions will be used, the American people will feel more empowered as they will have a direct say in where half of the money they contribute will be used. This will enable them to feel that they have made a real difference in helping our country, therefore encouraging them and others to contribute more money for other projects, which will be to their long term benefit.
This proposal should be a win – win situation for everyone involved. Democrats will be able to stimulate the economy and create new jobs, Republicans will be able to say that this does not add to the national debt, the unemployed will gain new jobs, and most of all, the American people will gain the benefits of an improved infrastructure.