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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 8, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Repairing the nation

It’s socialistic, not socialism

In this troubled time, there exists an opportunity for the federal government to do great things. A broad program of public works played an important part in our country’s recovery in the 1930s. The country is still benefiting from these projects. Why not a similar program today?

Certainly, needs exist. Our transportation system badly needs repair and modernization. Programs are sorely needed to achieve energy independence, environmental protection and climate-disaster avoidance.

National parks are crying for improved facilities and adequate staffing. Cities vulnerable to storms and earthquakes need help.

Clearly, our financial system also needs extensive repair.

However, government-funded construction and research projects would provide more immediate benefits than pouring money into the crippled and sometimes corrupt financial industry, with no great certainty of return to the taxpayers. Public works would create jobs, enabling people to meet mortgage payments, buy new cars and patronize small businesses, stimulating the whole economy.

Socialistic? Yes. Socialism? No, because such programs would be customer-business relationships between government and industry, not nationalization of businesses.

Expensive? Absolutely. Nothing is free, and however such a program is funded, taxpayers eventually must pay. What better, though, than for the public to receive the benefits of the cost. Last Tuesday’s voter approval of levies for transit and parks shows that, despite hard times, citizens are willing to pay for improvements to the infrastructure.

This idea deserves consideration and a national debate, with the aim of retuning to a healthy economy and a clean, safe and prosperous country.

— Elliott Brogren, Bellevue

Comments | More in Economy, Politics

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