Category Archives: creative financing

An End Run Around Grover Norquist

Wealthy men built our railroads. They didn’t do it out of the kindness of their hearts. They did it from necessity. They were making products to sell and mining coal and drilling for oil and they needed an efficient way to get their goods to the population centers where people would buy and use them. These men did not invent railroads – they had already been invented and were in limited use. But these men raced to build the railroads (with slave and/or very cheap labor) once they realized how effective the railroads would be as product movers. They competed with each other to try to get a monopoly on certain routes; a monopoly which might drive competitors out of business.

Vanderbilt, Rockefeller and Carnegie were three of the competitors we remember best and these men, already wealthy, became very wealthy indeed in the process of creating and improving on this piece of American infrastructure.

All of this history has implications for the present. If we cannot, after heroic attempts, get the GOP to agree to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, maybe we can get them to contribute monies to an infrastructure fund to bring us a futuristic transport apparatus that can flexibly accommodate high speed rail and cars that drive themselves, but require electricity along with oil and gas. Of course they are already richer than Vanderbilt, Rockefeller and Carnegie so they need reasons to take on this huge project. Well, it might help bring business back to America, it would take a big expense out of the federal budget, in the long run it would grow their personal wealth,  it would give them something meaningful to accomplish, and they would become the “new philanthropists”. Since the wealthy wouldn’t have as much free time as they do now, it might also make vacations exciting to them again.

They could get rid of all our crazy elevated super-highways , clover leafs, and double clover leafs that cut up our cities. They could build by-passes around our cities with parking lots at the exits where public transport to the city center would be provided. We would not use our vehicles in cities at all, only small electric public vehicles (taxis).

 

New lanes could be added to highways for cars that drive themselves. Newly updated service areas that recharge electric cars quickly, in addition to providing fossil fuels, would be built. High speed rail would complement all the highways improvements. Perhaps there could be considerations for accommodations that could help travelers at places which frequently experience extreme weather also.   

You guys have already shown that you have skills to make money or at least hold on to money, so I am sure you could form, fund, and manage a company or group that could take this on. Although it might require a huge infusion of your cash to begin with I’m sure you could figure out ways it could benefit your bottom line in the end. And we wouldn’t have to raise taxes so we would get around that pledge you all made to Grover Norquist. It’s a win-win strategy. “If you build it they will come.”