Plea: Spend 1% of Annual GDP on Infrastructure

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers called for a $2.5 trillion infrastructure investment program over 10 years to energize the American economy and help it exit from “secular stagnation.” Speaking to a Sydney conference via live video on Tuesday, Summers cited one of his favorite examples in reiterating his call for new U.S. infrastructure. He got a large show of hands after asking how many in the Australian audience had been to New York’s Kennedy airport. He then asked how many thought the U.S. should be “really proud” of that airport as a gateway to America’s greatest city. The response: no hands, and a lot of laughter. “It is a no-brainer,” Summers said. “Because of what it means for job creation and demand in the short run; because of what it means for economic capacity in the medium run; because of what the growth means for the financial health of the government.” He highlighted historically low funding costs, “very low” materials costs and the employment needs of non-college-educated males in his call.

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