Ye infrastructure stimulus

You know what would be a great, original, sure-fire idea? A massive infrastructure program to stimulate the economy. Like the one the US just inaugurated on November 8. Of 1933.

That’s right. The Civil Works Administration, an early serving of New Deal alphabet soup that aimed to create millions of jobs, spend hundreds of millions of dollars a month, and build or fix roads, sewer pipes, schools, playgrounds and, something you don’t see today, a quarter of a million outhouses.

That’s right. The U.S. government got into the business of building kaibos for the helpless populace. But hey, jobs jobs jobs, right? And of course it worked. The U.S. government lurched into action when the Great Depression hit, raising taxes, restricting trade, deliberately reducing production of both agricultural and industrial products to increase prosperity (the AAA and NRA particularly), meddling everywhere, insulting businessmen and by golly, the economy recovered in just a decade.

It was, some quibbled, the longest depression in American history precisely because the government decided to wallop the economy at the worst imaginable moment and adopted a long and politically very successful strategy of continuing the floggings until morale improved. But let us not be small-minded.

To this day, every politician faced with a downturn wants to be Franklin Roosevelt. And they hype their plans to spend money we don’t have on infrastructure we didn’t want until the slump hit. And the longer it goes on, the longer the slumps last and the more disappointing the performance of the economy.

I guess we better do it again, huh?