Public works spending wise; for awhile, little else may be

Dick Morris’s column “Obama’s stimulus plan won’t stimulate” (Dec. 10) misses the point about the type of infrastructure projects that would greatly assist our ailing economy in the short term.

The respected American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recently reported more than 5,000 transportation projects totaling $64 billion can be put to contract in 180 days.

These projects would support an estimated 1.8 million American jobs.

While I appreciate Mr. Morris acknowledging the importance and value of public works investment, most of the projects outlined by AASHTO are not on the massive scale of FDR’s successful Public Works Administration (PWA) as he refers to in his column. Rather, the focus is on the shovel-ready variety like those under FDR’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) that involved “little” preparation. Such projects would include addressing the backlog of deficient bridges, resurfacing, enhancing safety, and adding traffic lanes to ease congestion at choke points (with the added bonus of reducing greenhouse emissions). Funding may also be used to expand ready-to-go aviation and many transit projects.

President-elect Obama’s stimulus plan is fundamentally different from the 2008 stimulus package that provided rebate checks that largely went to pay down debt rather than purchase new products or services as hoped. This new proposal will maintain and create thousands of much-needed U.S. jobs, purchasing locally produced cement, aggregates, construction machinery and other materials used in transportation projects. Such a stimulus package will not feed certain imports, which may possibly undercut our road to recovery — the money will be spent and put to work here, in America, in the very communities we live and work in.

Infrastructure investment would not simply keep people working paycheck to paycheck as Mr. Morris asserts — rather, the view should be that such projects will keep food on the table or pay costly energy bills for construction and material supply workers. Quite frankly, this type of plan is the right thing to do under the circumstances. It may be the most sound public policy plan to come out of Washington for quite some time to come, given the dire economic conditions we face.

Washington

Selfish but sane — and so what if he swears?

From Earl Beal

The media’s talking heads say Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) is an egomaniac and is narcissistic, which they say is a manifestation of a dangerous mental pathology. Ninety percent of the U.S. population over the age of 11, I would opine, meet this standard for reduced mental capacity.

Blagojevich is a ruthless, calculating, self-aggrandizing, self-centered man. He is not insane.

Yes, he and his wife have potty mouths. So, with the language voiced in movies, on TV and among the teenage set as bad as, if not worse than, Rod’s and the Mrs.’ raw verbosity — what’s new?

Federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and his investigative entourage were appalled at the couple’s pervasive use of colorful language. Fitzgerald and his staff act like wallflowers with virgin ears, even though I am quite sure that he and his crew have dropped various f-bombs from time to time in the course of their adult lives.

Terre Haute, Ind.

Buyers turned off by  Detroit-Democrat link

From Don DeVan

I know I am not alone when I say I will not buy a car made by union workers in Democrat states. Why should I spend my money when I know a portion of it goes to support people who then use it to help elect politicians who are hell-bent on taking my freedoms away? Why should I buy products from workers represented by people who criticize and humiliate me with statements that we are bitter and cling to our guns and Bibles?

Why should I buy a car from people like that when I can buy a Nissan or Toyota made in my own state from employees who are union-free, who can implement ideas and improvements, and are more focused on quality, value and customer satisfaction?

You do not insult half the people of your nation and then expect them to flock to showrooms to buy your products.

Knoxville, Tenn.