Would More Government Infrastructure Spending Boost the U.S. Economy?

President Trump has promised to induce $1 trillion of new public and private investment in infrastructure over the next decade. He believes that strategy will be beneficial both for short-run, macroeconomic reasons (it will stimulate the economy) and for long-run, microeconomic reasons (it will improve productivity). A new paper from Cato scholar Ryan Bourne assesses both sets of reasoning, and finds that the case for more government investment is significantly weaker than commonly asserted.

Who Owns U.S. Infrastructure?

As part of its 2018 budget proposal, the Trump administration has introduced a plan to improve the nation’s infrastructure. The administration intends to reduce regulatory barriers that delay infrastructure projects and raise project costs. It also intends to encourage private investment in infrastructure through privatization and public-private partnerships. In a new bulletin, Cato scholar Chris Edwards argues that a reduced federal role would allow for increases in private investment and more efficient state and local investment.

Looking at Trump’s 2018 Budget

The Trump administration has released its 2018 budget plan, which includes spending and revenue projections for the 2018 to 2027 period. The plan would increase spending on defense, infrastructure, paid leave, and a few other items, but would reduce overall spending substantially compared to the baseline. According to Cato scholar Chris Edwards, “The budget’s spending cuts are being called cruel and heartless, but chronic deficits are imposing huge costs on young Americans down the road, which is totally unethical. Trump should be commended for proposing overdue reforms for such a wide range of spending programs.”

Cato Studies

Of Special Note

The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

Two long wars, chronic deficits, the financial crisis, the costly drug war, the growth of executive power under Presidents Bush and Obama, and the revelations about NSA abuses, have given rise to a growing libertarian movement in our country – with a greater focus on individual liberty and less government power. David Boaz’s newly released The Libertarian Mind is a comprehensive guide to the history, philosophy, and growth of the libertarian movement, with incisive analyses of today’s most pressing issues and policies. The Libertarian Mind is the ultimate resource for the current, burgeoning libertarian movement.

Special! 10 Copies for $10

Cato Pocket Constitution

To encourage people everywhere to better understand and appreciate the principles of government that are set forth in America’s founding documents, the Cato Institute published this pocket-size edition.

Cato Book

The Tyranny of Silence

With the tragedies in Denmark and Paris, self-censorship in the face of intimidation and the nature of free speech are at the forefront of public debate. No one knows this debate better than Flemming Rose, the editor of the Danish newspaper that published the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in 2005 that set off a global firestorm. In Tyranny of Silence, published by the Cato Institute, Rose offers a deeply personal look at attempts to limit free speech in a multireligious, culturally borderless world.

Get your copy today.

DownsizingGovernment.org

DownsizingGovernment.org

This website is designed to help policymakers and the public understand where federal funds are being spent and how to reform each government department. It describes the failings of federal agencies and identifies specific programs to cut. It also discusses the systematic reasons why government programs are often obsolete, mismanaged, or otherwise dysfunctional.