Public Values

Obama's economic stimulus plans should include under-appreciated public water system

Would create green jobs, counteract three decades of neglect.

Writer Kelle Louallierby Kelle Louaillier, Corporate Accountability International

November 13, 2008 — President-Elect Obama and Congressional leaders want to see an economic stimulus package passed this year. If the specifics of the package are in line with the election rhetoric, the package could include significant investments in "green infrastructure" to stimulate job growth and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

The whole package could include everything from an extension of jobless benefits to money for cities to make public buildings more energy efficient.

But what it cannot leave out are the public water systems that national leaders have long taken for granted. Our economic prosperity as a country depends upon reliable water delivery and sewage treatment.

Over a century ago, the consolidation of smaller privately-held water systems into larger municipal water systems in the US dramatically boosted people's health and standard of living, which helped spur a period of rapid economic growth and prosperity for our country.

Even today our water systems are among the best in the world, though the value national leaders have placed on them has diminished markedly over time.

Today our public water systems are facing a $22 billion annual shortfall between what they require and what they are allocated.

This is part of a trend that cities and towns have been pushing back against for the last three decades. In 1978, federal funding covered 78 percent of the cost for new water infrastructure. By 2007, it covered only 3 percent .

That's a paltry 3 percent, despite the fact that government spending on public water systems actually pays huge dividends for a struggling economy. A recent study prepared for the US Conference of Mayors that examined more than 310 sources including economic studies, academic journals, and government reports finds that. . .

To read further. . .

Links and sources
  Stimulus should spring from the ground up, by Kelle Louaillier, Corporate Accountability International, November 13, 2008
  November 19 is World Toilet Day, by Dr Bob Dickson and Blaise Salmon, Straight Goods, November 17, 2008

Posted: November 13, 2008

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