In the late 1930s, when we faced a double-dip depression, Marriner Eccles, the chairman of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Federal Reserve, worried that our mounting debts and real need for public investment would be hampered by a prevalent sentiment that "unwise spending seems to be spending for the other fellow."
To keep the economy moving, FDR's Second Wave of the New Deal turned to public-private-partnerships to get the job done. FDR and his Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. ramped up self-liquidating enterprises and quasi-publics. Now it's time for President Obama and Timothy Geithner to do the same, introduce our own 21st century public-private-partnerships by creating a National Infrastructure Bank.
A bipartisan bill to create an American Infrastructure Bank introduced by Senators Kerry (D-MA), Hutchison (R-TX), Graham (R-SC), and Warner (D-VA) finds a way of putting private capital now sitting on the sidelines to work building much-needed infrastructure. In a time of budgetary crisis, an Infrastructure Bank can finance an infrastructure platform for surge manufacturing. On the campaign trail in 2008, President Obama promised something similar, using public-private-partnerships to get infrastructure built. According to then candidate Obama, an Infrastructure Bank would help us "to reclaim our dream and restore prosperity."
If you want to know more about how this would work, take a look at this - "Rethinking 21st Century Government: Public-Private-Partnerships and the National Infrastructure Bank."
It's time now for our own wave two.
I'll be saying something more about this at the Clinton Global Initiative America next week: