The president's 2015 budget proposal "pivots" away from the 2010 "pivot" to austerity, pushes modestly for jobs and prioritizes infrastructure repair. Republicans will obstruct this -- just like they have obstructed every jobs plan since the stimulus. But the public fully supports what the president is trying to do.
The administration proposal highlights that the funding levels under current law will deprive the nation of worthy investments in such areas as infrastructure, research, and education, and it urges Congress and the nation to evaluate whether the benefits of higher spending in those areas outweigh the costs of cutting certain programs and raising certain revenues.
Today, there is extra urgency behind the need for a shift toward innovation: many new financial services competitors that are small, nimble and on the cutting edge of technology entered the market right after the financial crisis, when established firms were busy licking their wounds. The old guard is going to need to stay on top of innovation just to keep up with the new guard.
Rebuilding America's infrastructure, as President Obama emphasizes, is a top national priority. The benefits include several million jobs, enhanced competitiveness, and a greener footprint. But it can't happen until America fixes its broken legal approval process. Approvals drag on for years, sometimes decades.
If our collective hope is for prosperity, one of the ways we can get there is by restoring the strength of the systems we rely on to get us back and forth to work, supply our power, keep us safe from floods when storms rage, and make sure we can communicate with each other. To put prosperity within our reach, we need a strong infrastructure to build upon.
No economic fruit is larger, or lower hanging, than rebuilding America's decrepit infrastructure. Several million jobs could be added. American competitiveness would be enhanced. Public and private investors would be repaid handsomely. America's environmental footprint would be greener. All that's needed to get all this is... end legal paralysis.
I believe the future of solving much of our nation's transportation problems lies within the vision and leadership we find in our cities. Providing the resources and decision-making authority increasingly to cities and their regions will yield enormous benefits not only to the nation's mobility but to the returning health of our nation's economy.