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

Author: Chris Edwards
October 21, 2011

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Increased infrastructure spending has significant support in Washington these days, but Chris Edwards doubts its ability to lift the economy.

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.

If I had my own television commercial, I'd stand in front of the wreckage of Idaho's Teton Dam,which, like the Hoover Dam, was built by the federal Bureau of Reclamation. The Teton Dam was based on shoddy engineering and a flawed economic analysis. It collapsed catastrophically in 1976, just a year after it was built. 

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