Let me start with this: I don’t think the government does a good job of spending money. But there is one area where I think the government needs to be spending money, and that area is infrastructure.
I’m talking roads, bridges, airports, and mass transit. Our roads and highways are crumbling and inadequate. Our airports are the butt of jokes. Parts of our mass transit system are OK on some days, but only when you take into account that our system is old.
Looking at what we pay in taxes (rates as well as actual dollars), we should have an incredible infrastructure that enhances our quality of life. Instead, our current infrastructure leads to long commute times, the inconvenience and costs of bumpy roads, and delayed flights. From a commercial standpoint, a poor infrastructure creates a lot of friction that affects productivity and profits (and, in a macro sense, GDP).
A recent article in Crain’s NY shows how NYS infrastructure spending has declined significantly in real dollars (I can’t imagine other area states or Federal infrastructure spending is going in the right direction either). Clearly finding funds to beef up our infrastructure is not an easy task, but that is what our government officials need to grapple with (raising taxes is not an option). I do believe that, if done reasonably efficiently and effectively (a stretch, I know), spending on infrastructure will produce measurable ROI in the form of increased profits (and the taxes that are a result
of it) as well as a higher standard of living.