Chris Edwards

PPPs and Privatization for Infrastructure

I testified to the congressional Joint Economic Committee on Wednesday regarding infrastructure, which means roads, bridges, pipelines, railroads, and other such assets. Here are some of the points I raised:

Federal Energy Failures

In the Washington Post, Steven Mufson does a nice job describing how Solyndra is just one of many energy subsidy failures of recent decades.

More Government Cost Overruns

One reason to shift infrastructure financing to the private sector is that governments and their contractors often give taxpayers the shaft. They say a big project will cost a certain amount, but then the project gets underway and they reveal that—whoops!—the project actually costs much more. No one gets fired, the money has been spent, taxes and debt have been increased, and officials move onto the next boondoggle.

The Downside of Federal Infrastructure Spending

My Washington Post op-ed on federal infrastructure yesterday elicited a large and vigorous response. The comments on the WaPo site and emails to my inbox were about 80 percent in opposition to my views.

Infrastructure Projects to Fix the Economy? Don't Bank on It.

In a recent television ad for her network, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow stands below the Hoover Dam and asks whether we are still a country that can “think this big” — Hoover Dam big. The commercial is built on the assumption that American greatness is advanced by federal spending on major infrastructure projects.

American Government Spending: 41% of GDP

My good friend Kathy Ruffing at CBPP takes me to task for testifying that government spending in the United States is 41 percent of GDP, which in my view is a very high and harmful level.

Did Canada Steal Our Tenth Amendment?

Under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government was assigned specific limited powers, and most government functions were left to the states. To ensure that people understood the limits on federal power, the Framers added the Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Those delegated powers are “few and defined,” noted James Madison.

Herman Cain: How About 15-15-15?

Presidential candidate Herman Cain has made a splash with his 9-9-9 tax reform plan. I love his 9 percent income tax, but the skunk at the tax reform picnic is his 9 percent retail sales tax. Mr. Cain is an articulate advocate of free enterprise and I wish him well in the contest, but he should ditch the sales tax.

Steve Jobs and Charity

Morally, it’s rather despicable for some news outlets to be essentially questioning the value of Steve Job’s life based on how much he did or didn’t give to charities, as the Washington Post did last week.

Steve Jobs: Exemplary Entrepreneur

With the sad passing of Steve Jobs, everyone is talking about what an awesome entrepreneur he was. But what exactly do entrepreneurs like Jobs do for the economy?


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