Here, thanks to Dan Pritts, is a list of commonly called institutions – e.g., banks and airlines – that want you to ‘please listen carefully as our menu options have changed’ – with tips for reaching a human instead.


Alan: ‘Joe Devney missed the point of suspending the Davis-Bacon Act. The purpose was not to require the contractors to pass the savings on to the government but to induce those contractors to hire more people. If the marginal cost of employing resources, labor in this case, is lower (so goes the economic theory), it will be profitable to employ more units of that resource. So more people who are now out of work will be earning a paycheck, spending that money, and stimulating the local economy in the affected areas. I’m not saying this will be the result; I’m just saying that there is a solid economic principle behind the idea.’

☞ Then I’m confused. We are talking about spending $200 billion in this region, plus whatever the insurers pay out and add to the pot, plus whatever private individuals choose to spend and invest – and the fear is that there won’t be enough work?

Entice former residents to return by offering them lower wages?


John Leonarz: ‘One of the lessons I think we can draw from the Katrina/New Orleans disaster is that we do a poor job allocating our public works appropriations to deal with the most needful infrastructure requirements. Serious repairs and strengthening of the New Orleans levees would have been a stitch in time that might have saved $100 billion or so. I think a better way than the Congressional free-for-all for designating the projects that get funded would be to adopt the procedure used for the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program.

‘It would work like this: The Congress would, early in the session, decide how much money the Government will spend during the session for public works, say $200 billion. Each member would get to designate ten or fifteen million for his or her district; Subcommittee Chairs would get twenty million; and Chairs of Appropriations would get fifty. They could give parts off to other members to jointly fund larger projects. Meanwhile, a Civil Public Works Commission would be chosen, with staff, by some means calculated to provide professional expertise, geographically distributed, and as nonpartisan as possible. They and their staff would consider the various projects proposed, or could propose their own. Indeed, anyone, Governors, Mayors, etc., could propose a project.

‘The Commission would set standards as to the completeness of a proposal and would have the right to call upon other Federal Agencies for advice on issues which might be pertinent to various projects, e.g., environmental or security concerns. The Commission could work on future years’ projects as well as the current year, and would allocate funds proportionally for multi-year projects. Each line-item would carry the Commission’s comparative justification for the amount and degree of national priority. The Commission’s report to the Congress would have additions of the respective members’ allocations and then would be voted up or down, without amendments. This procedure would permit the most serious public works issues to be addressed without direct political influences, while simultaneously limiting the total to be spent on public works (one supplemental appropriation for whatever the Congress chooses, would be permitted in an amount not to exceed 10% of the original allowance). What do you think?’

☞ Nevva happen. Makes too much sense. Have a great weekend. Don’t sell your puts.


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