Why not a "public works" bailout?

I’ve clearly shown my economic ignorance in the past. But I’m wondering why so much talk of responding to the current economic situation is aimed at bailing out financial institutions and the markets? It seems as tho dumping billions into the banks, just made them a tad happier - but they don’t seem overeager to share the largesse.

If the gov’t is going to spend billions/trillions, wouldn’t it make sense for them to spend it on infrastructure? Seems to me it would provide tremendous and diverse benefits. For decades we have heard of how the nation’s bridges, roads, railroads, etc., are in dire need of rebuilding/replacement. If we focussed on putting money towards public works, it would employ people, give money to construction businesses, stimulate purchases of steel and other goods. And even if it didn’t resolve the economic problem, at the end we’d have someting tangible - better roads, etc. - instead of just happier bankers.

Whaddya say?

Something like the WPA, you mean? I suspect we’ll see a push for infrastructure repair and improvements. Obama talked about it in the context of job creation.

I hope so. Old bridges worry me. It’s almost a phobia. There’s one bridge that I cross almost every day, and every time I think “Should I open the car windows now so I can crawl out when it collapses?” Brick-faced walls on old buildings have fallen in my town, and two towns close by.

Yeah. Maybe with the US playing the role of general contractor, financing projects and subcontracting out to private firms.

And combine that with apprenticeship programs, maybe through community colleges and voc-tech classes in high schools. Anyone who’s tried to find a good plumber or electrician or furnace repairman knows how badly we need to beef up the skilled trades.

This is such a good notion that it is obviously doomed to go nowhere.

The Amercian Consulting Engineers Council says the new administration is a mixed bag:

There is a move underway to push forward on a new economic recovery and job creation package. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently testified before the House Ways and Means Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on that. ASCE is calling for up to $40.7 billion in infrastructure aid.

The cost to repair/replace our nation’s infrastructure is staggering:

From here.

You mean something like this?

Shit, you mean almost as much as we could piss down a hole in the desert somewhere?
Or just slightly more than we could drop on some gambling banks?

Man, if the new admin actually pushes for something this sensible, I might get all misty…

DSeid, I think that is the same plan that the ASCE went to the House to talk about.

The testimony of David Mongan, ASCE President, is here.

The testimony of Andrew Herrmann is here.

I agree, Dinsdale, I’d much rather be spending money on this than pissing “down a hole in the desert somewhere”.