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April 8, 2020  

“The Worst Possible Thing We Can Do With This Money”

April 8, 2020

As talks begin about how to kickstart the economy after the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, lawmakers, policy wonks, and the media are resurrecting a familiar plan: a huge infrastructure bill that will “get money flowing” and “put Americans back to work.”

The belief that infrastructure spending can cure what ails us, that infrastructure is a “good financial investment,” has gained such widespread acceptance (in both major parties, among advocacy groups, and in the media) that we here at Strong Towns call it the “Infrastructure Cult.” But we’re not buying it. Because when you do the math, you soon discover that the more-is-better dogma is financially ruinous for local communities in even the best of times.

On this week’s episode of Upzoned, host Abby Kinney and Strong Towns founder and president Chuck Marohn discuss a recent article from The Hill about the $2 trillion infrastructure bill gaining steam in Washington, DC. They talk about where the money is likely to come from and how it will be spent, the problems with comparing the bill to Great Depression-era recovery plans, and why we can’t fix the economy using the same thinking that made it fragile in the first place.

Then on the Downzoned, Chuck recommends a modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and previews something big he’s been working on. And Abby, a Kansas City-based planner at Gould Evans, recommends a Netflix show that should be must-watch even for people who don’t live in Missouri.

Additional Show Notes: