When the NYT publishes some potentially good news about the new Republican administration under Donald Trump, one is well advised to read on. Everyone seems to agree that Greece needs a growth strategy if the country is ever to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Trump, too, has said that he will make major infrastructure investments in order to make America great again.
Spending money on infrastructure is far easier said than done. It doesn’t make sense to spend money on bridges to nowhere. James B. Stewart, the author of the article under a column appropriately titled „Common Sense“, writes the following:
„All he (Trump) needs to do is what he presumably does best: build something. And I don’t mean a few miles of asphalt or a paint job on a rusting bridge. Build something awe-inspiring. Something Americans can be proud of. Something that will repay the investment many times over for generations to come. Build the modern-day equivalent of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, the Lincoln Tunnel or the Timberline Lodge. All of these are Depression-era New Deal public works projects started under President Franklin D. Roosevelt that are still in use.“
What makes this article different from most others is that it doesn’t only discuss infrastructure spending in a global way but it also proposes about a dozen specific investment objects („shovel-ready or close to it“). Approving and funding spending is one thing. Spending the money wisely on wise projects can be quite another thing.
I don’t think there is a single Greek politician who has not talked about the need for infrastructure spending in recent years. What I have not seen anywhere yet is a list of „shovel-ready or near it“ projects where money could be spent quickly and wisely. There was a project some years ago about a new Formula 1 racing track. On the surface, that does not necessarily sound like money being spent wisely.