Infrastructure words of wisdom

Places like Singapore have nice infrastructure because they have pro-saving public policies and effective cost controls on construction projects. America has neither. As long as this is the state of affairs, we will not have top-notch infrastructure, no matter how much money the federal government throws at the problem.

That is from Scott Sumner.


Is this a salience error? The worst US projects stand in for the median?


Really? Why didn't this article lead with US rural costs?

Is this an argument in favor of private highways and drastically increased food prices?

Singapore!! Really!! It is about 1/10th the size of Delaware. We have a couple million miles of highway and someone thought that Singapore was a good example to compare the U.S. with.

Yes, and Texas is massively larger than New Jersey. But how would that make per-mile road construction cost comparisons useless? And why are subways 7X more expensive to build in NYC than Paris? Or is that comparison also invalid, too?

I can think of two reasons for Texas to be cheaper than New Jersey. First Texas has much more low value land. Such land is easier to buy and less likely to face contention for other uses. Second, New Jersey isn't just New Jersey, it is a transportation hub doing much more than for its residents alone. Feeding NY, serving ports, part of the NE corridor. That has to be expensive. Building while under high demand.

Good points, but the administrative costs should not skyrocket like that.

It seems to me that if more interests have a stake in the outcome, administrative costs will balloon proportionally.

The cost per mile is indeed higher in the U.S. because the unions own the Democrat party and use them to get legislation that favors them and harms the tax payer. Repeal the Davis Bacon act.

As for using Singapore as a comparison you have to understand that the author obviously searched out the country/state/city that most supported his thesis without regard to comparability. It is obviously much more difficult to build infrastructure in a country of 3.8 million square miles when compared with a tiny country of 269 square miles.

A better comparison would be between the U.S. and Australia, China or Russia in terms of area.

Also applies to a lot of other stuff besides infrastructure as well!

You beat me to it. Health care and education spring to mind.

Sooo, what Europe can, US can not do, is that you mean? I thought US is supposed to be "da best" ?


The only thing shovel ready are our lawyers.

Could you explain the education part?

What do you mean by "infrastructure"? The roads and bridges of the country are in generally decent shape, considering. Airports as well. Nobody's going to dig up sewer and water lines unless there's a perceptible problem. It's obvious that if we're looking at the sum total of infrastructure, including government facilities, things are pretty classy:

The point of Sumners article is that Europeans and Asians build things 5x cheaper than us so we end up with fewer subways and roads.

If you consider narrow "highways" with only 4 lanes "building things" I suppose you may have a point.

How much roadway do you need? Is there a place in the US of A, except for Alaska and parts of Montana and Idaho, that isn't a short hike from an improved highway? Would covering the entire country with bitumen and concrete make you happy?

% "Nobody’s going to dig up sewer and water lines unless there’s a perceptible problem."

Precisely the issue. Out of Sight ... Out of Mind !

Don't act until things deteriorate to "perceptible" crisis situations.

American government politicians and bureaucrats are long notorious for skimping on routine infrastructure maintenance ... and diverting the money to more visible, politically beneficial projects. Recent history of the NYC Subway System is a classic example. EVERYTHING needs routine maintenance and eventual replacement-- it must be budgeted for and done consistently.... but it's so mundane and tedious for pampered government officials.

Of course the politicians/bureaucrats always mange to take good care of themselves. In my county, the government facilities are the newest and grandest buildings around... office buildings, court houses, police/fire stations, etc. --- meanwhile the county road system is full of potholes and falling apart.

Tell us about how you re-wire and re-plumb your house every 5 years and replace the transmission of your Audi A6 every 75,000 miles, just in case.

'but it’s so mundane and tedious'

To explain to taxpayers that paying more today to save money later is not an example of the government stealing from your pocket.

It is always hilarious to here a certain sort of commenter here complain about 'unfunded liabilities' while seemingly having no clue that skimping on maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure unfunded liabilities, instead of preventing them.

Basically, the U.S. seems to have pretty lost its awareness of how an industrial society actually functions over the longer term. It definitely does not involve facebook.

"paying more today to save money later " If only that were what's happening, I'd be well for it.

Yes it has nice infrastructure. Yes it has pro-saving public policies and effective cost controls. It also has a parliamentary system of government, it's a city-state, it has different a different culture/psychology, it has mandatory two year reservist training (or substitute service) for all young males, ... If only it were so simple as flipping a switch to the right policy...

It's not only Singapore that builds subways cheaper than the USA. Europeans build cheaper, too. We're the inefficient outlier.

Inefficient? This article is "surprised" that Hawaii has higher administrative costs than Wyoming.

I would think they have much bigger problems finding a route, and planning the supply chain.

I think you and many other commenters are misunderstanding the observation. Sumner's statement is that, without more savings and lower costs, we cannot expect to have the same infrastructure as Singapore. He's not asserting the converse: that if we simply switched to Singaporean policies, then we would have their infrastructure (although he does note that if we eliminated anti-saving policies then we would have more investment, including infrastructure, than we have now). It might very well be that no policies would allow us to have the savings rates and low costs that are necessary to support Singapore's infrastructure. Sumner's point is that throwing more federal dollars at infrastructure is not going to make up for the low saving and high costs.

More savings would lower the cost of borrowing for these projects. This cost is already very low. Lower costs is the driver we need.

I suppose we are just going to ignore the difference in size between a continent spanning country and a island.

Delaware alone is 10 times the land area.

If that's the problem then obviously you should tear up the Constitution and become 50 separate countries. Or 57 if you are an Obama follower.

California, Texas, Florida, and New York should split into at least 5 different countries each with a population similar to New Zealand and Ireland, 4.6m. The USA should split into 100 different countries of population 2-5m each. The most corrupt countries are the largest.

100 countries might be taking it too far but I can certainly agree that we could benefit from reorganizing the states.

Coastal Washington/Oregon have radically different interests than the rural/eastern halves of those states.

Illinois is too top-heavy with an overly dominate Chicago battling downstate farmers over tax and regulatory policy.

Upstate New York would love to enjoy the economic gains from fracking that Pennsylvania residents enjoy but NYC politicians put the kibosh on that.

Rhode Island is quite small and could be comfortably absorbed into a Greater Massachusetts.

California's regional differences are obvious and need no further elaboration.

In many cases, large cities sit along the borders of more than one state, creating coordination problems. New York City being an obvious example of this.

State boundaries are fairly arbitrary. It's at least somewhat surprising that efforts to move the boundaries aren't more common.

All borders are fairly (or unfairly) arbitrary--country, nation, state, county, city....

Really? that's all it is? pro-savings policies and we will have cheaper/more cost effective infrastructure? Does anyone making these claims even know how infrastructure projects are built/managed? This "article" is as dumb as those "this one secret trick that US policy makers HATE" clickbait links.

Look at the source. His other gems of wisdom include the contention that 'there's no such thing as bubbles', his contention that the Great Recession was induced by Dr. Bernanke paying interest on reserves, and his contention that Trump is Mussolini (well, today's contention. He'll take it back tomorrow). His standard response to anyone who is not a professional economist is variations on a theme of 'you really are an idiot'. He's a business school professor interested in financial economics. It's doubtful he knows much about any dimension of the production of public works.

And he's not even a good ol cuck like me wink!

just to be clear, this is an impostor and I am the original fake Art Deco.

I know very little about infrastructure, so perhaps you can provide a little more detail.

In particular, I'm unsure about why you're bringing up how infrastructure is built and managed. From what I can see, we have no difficulty doing the actual building and managing, it just costs much more for us than the it does for the rest of the developed world.

In other words, the Second Avenue subway seems to be as well built as the new Paris subway lines, it just costs seven times as much. Its not like we're digging tunnels with hand tools while the French are using tunnel boring machines.

Sumner's point seems sound to me. Pro-savings policies result in having sufficient funds available to invest in infrastructure. Effective costs controls (which you left out) mean that money is spent efficiently.

Or did you mean "effective cost controls" when you said "how infrastructure projects are built/managed"?

In other words, the Second Avenue subway seems to be as well built as the new Paris subway lines, it just costs seven times as much.

Or someone's peddling a factoid that it costs 7x as much.

Just like someone is peddling a factoid that my cock is only 1/4 inch when it's really a full half inch

Or the fiction that employees of the Mercatus Center aren't behind all the s***posting here.

If you can't beat em or ignore em, join em, eh Art? You're getting paranoid.

"Pro-savings policies result in having sufficient funds available to invest in infrastructure."
No, it would not. Insufficient ROI.

First, you cannot compare two underground transit systems like that, each underground transit system is unique in the ground it goes through, the service requirements, the rolling stock requirements, safety standards, environmental conditions/requirements, local politics etc etc. There are so many different variables that something so silly like a throw-away line like "pro-savings" or "cost-controls" whatever that means cannot hope to capture the issues.

Just to give a taste at some of the complexities that "pro-savings" and "cost-controls" cannot help is that there is a requirement in NYC, that a certain % of the MTA contracting work goes out to Minority / Women Business Entities:

How do you hope to "cost-control" this? you've now severely limited the suppliers for a % of the contract.

"Just to give a taste at some of the complexities that “pro-savings” and “cost-controls” cannot help is that there is a requirement in NYC, that a certain % of the MTA contracting work goes out to Minority / Women Business Entities:"

I think that is exactly the point. "Complexities" such as overlapping jurisdictions, union rules, and other ex-project factors blow out costs.

The project manager can not control his costs, but that doesn't mean the costs can't be addressed. Byzantine contracting requirements could be waived or revoked, for example.

There's nothing wrong with our 'infrastructure'. We have bad urban planning, in part due to the institutional cultures of planning agencies and in part due to fragmented decision-making at the local level. And, of course, adjustment measures (e.g. excises on gasoline and tolls on limited access highways) are deeply unpopular with people who resent it when costs are made explicit.

Things have really improved in the last 5 years in the U.S. then - ' The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2012-2013 exposes that U.S. infrastructure compares unfavorably with that of most advanced countries and even some developing nations.

The report investigated the quality and availability of roads, railroads, ports, air transport, electricity, and telephones.

In terms of overall infrastructure, the U.S. ranks 25th, behind nations such as Oman and Barbados, and only one spot ahead of Qatar.

America’s position is buoyed by finishing first in one category: the number of available airline seats. In other words, it's easy for Americans to get a plane ticket to wherever they need to go.

Other areas hold the United States’ ranking down. For instance, the quality of air transport infrastructure is ranked 30th in the world, while quality of the electricity supply ranks 33rd.

China ranked lower than the U.S. in every single sub-category of infrastructure quality, and 69th overall.'

and yet China is a model according to Tom Friedman.

Also, going to guess non-Democratic petrostates always will win, because its a great way to generate legitimacy.

I always thought you were on the conservative side of the ledger. You know that republicans/conservatives are against consolidating local government services, right?

You seem to think I should be following a script composed by someone else. Don't got an Equity card.

I'm only an arch-conservative when it comes to things having to do with penises, but that is just a cover story, as you all well know.

Look I don't know why you throw around works like jane Jacobs and Robert moses, it's good to look ahead from time to time it depends what your goals are

I go crazy from the research sometimes, I lose my skin

Singapore, it should be noted, practices value capture―insofar as the government maintains ownership of land (and only leases it), infrastructure can go back into government expenditures instead of being privitized by land owners. This is similar to how Hong Kong practices value capture.

It's no minor point that these are both city-states.

Less land area and much less population than NYC. Why should this be an example?

Actually infrastructure is much more expensive to build in dense urban environments than in the countryside. This should make US infrastructure cheaper, not more expensive than Singapore. It would thus be instructive to see what we are doing wrong: red tape, unions, diversity mandates, plain old corruption, NIMBYs, and so on.

I suspect its almost all paperwork related to environmental rules, be it paperwork or very expensive "mitigation" of stuff like dust or mud.

Must be some really expensive paper.

NYC is 3x as densely populated. It should be more expensive. (not that much, though)

'no matter how much money the federal government throws at the problem'

Well, first, maybe we could have the federal government throwing money at the problem?

You know, on things like ongoing maintenance to save on utterly predictable and avoidable costs later - DC's Metro being a good current example.

Upkeep is not a luxury budget line item. But you can certainly scrimp on it for years before the effects become apparent enough to require fixing.

You have about 40 long-haul Interstates. Everything else can be handled by state and local government.

I spend a lot of time hanging around truckstops on those LONG HAUL interstates

My husband is negligent about most things.

Good country people is an American pastime, don't get me wrong. That good country people are ugly girls in flatiron is no one's surprise. Nomad, Ace Hotel, Low Country, Mayflower or Mayfair or whatever, flat iron park is a nice place for ugly girl fly bys and that's fine because the eye is high on the face and it stays put besides the pupils which moves. But good country people tastes pretty good but the drinks kill you and lephroiag has so much peet in it and its like how do you even get the peet in it really. But the ugly girls at the bars in the hotel lobbies seem to me either eating the high life of the highest shelf or ordering online. And this disconnect has never been greater. And it's a problem. This isn't to say there aren't good county people online, but it is to say people aren't writing letters because of...

Why would America's wealthy support spending on infrastructure? They don't use it. In a place like Singapore, infrastructure is essential for getting around. And for getting the Chinese plutocrats who provide the fuel for Singapore's economy around. Does one need a private jet to get around in Singapore? Where would one go? In America, the wealthy can fly by private jet to most anywhere, fly by helicopter for short trips. My low country community has one hell of an airport, even though the airport has no commercial service. Why? Because my community is what I call fly in, fly out America (as opposed to flyover America): the wealthy fly in on Friday, fly out Sunday night or Monday morning, in the convenience of their private jets. They fly in because they have "cottages" on the nearby island resort.

Chinese plutocrats didn't create Singapore's wealth.

Strange as it may seem to you, high net worth people own cars and drive on paved roads. They also are connected to sewer systems, make use of electricity, are hooked up to municipal water systems and (in places like Manhattan) use the subway too.

"Why would America’s wealthy support spending on infrastructure? They don’t use it."

They don't!? Their houses aren't hooked into the electrical grid? They don't have city water and sewer hookups? They don't use roads and bridges? Or airports?

Really, the only forms of infrastructure that the wealthy rarely use are passenger trains and buses. But the vast majority of the non-wealthy in the U.S. don't use those things either (only about 5% of Americans use public transport to get to work). For most Americans, the real concern with subways and other public transport systems is to avoid getting stuck with the bill.

One of the problems we face in America is that our politicians confuse the real utility of infrastructure construction. We actually need efficient and well built roads and bridges, but they see it mostly as a jobs program. There is little reason to keep costs down, when politicians view infrastructure spending this way, because the more money spent, the better. It's not about the roads, it just so happens they get built along the way.

Here's what may deliver spending on infrastructure in America: autonomous vehicles. Americans want autonomous vehicle, and are willing to pay ridiculous prices for them. But they want autonomous vehicles that can race around the street at 70 mph, while sharing that street with non-autonomous vehicles. Europeans are more realistic, understanding that autonomous vehicles are complements to efficient public transit. Americans can have their highly inefficient vision of millions of autonomous cars racing around at 70 mph, but it will require a dedicated right of way. Thus, spending on infrastructure. Americans, God love em, because nobody else will.

Go spend some time driving on the Périphérique, Super-Périphérique, and Francilienne ring roads around Paris and get back to me on Europeans enlightened use of public transit. In truth, in western Europe, the automobile is -- by far -- the dominant form of transportation, just as in the U.S. And there's a good argument to be made that the U.S. approach to rail is superior -- in the U.S., railroads mostly move freight (and do so very efficiently and profitably without subsidies). In Europe, only 10% of freight is moved by rail, whereas in the U.S. it's almost 50%. Why wouldn't you want your heavy goods moved safely and efficiently by rail rather than in trucks on the highway?

The point on costs is relevant, the point on savings is not. Nowhere is infrastructure paid for with savings. Except for some places with privatized infrastructure, it is paid for with taxes. We lack the political will to raise the taxes to pay for it, for a variety of reasons.

It may be that what is more important is fixing up our existing infrastructure rather than building lots more new of it, although we can use some of that. It is unclear whether our fairly mixed bag perfomance relative to other nations is more a matter of low quantity or poor quality, some of both I guess.

I've been driving on I-81 for decades, Barkley, including the section that runs by Harrisonburg. It's crowded with trucks, but otherwise in satisfactory order. You have paved roads in Harrisonburg - in satisfactory order. You have working toilets. You have municipal water. Etc.

I should also mention the fine truck stop outside Harrisonburg. Good for a LONG HAUL.

I have my regrets in this life.


So do lots of other countries have many or most of those things. I suspect the ranking given of 35th overall may be right. The claim we are way behind on airports looks pretty accurate to me. You may drive a lot on I 81 as do I, AD, but I have traveled all over the globe, although not quite as much as Tyler. Airports in most other nations are far superior to ours. Their railway systems are also generally far superior to ours. We are really into cars, so our roads and bridges are not too bad, although we are running into some problems with bridges, and they really should have built another tunnel under the Hudson River, and road quality varies a lot from state to state. Virginia is one of the better off states, so road not too bad, but they are substantially worse in quite a few others.

For those complaining about US airports, what exactly is the gripe? They don't resemble luxury malls enough? Not enough marble? Seats uncomfortable? The typical American spends probably 6 hours per year at airports and most of the pain is security.

Actually, I live overseas, am a pilot for one of the worlds largest international airlines and average laying over in about five or six countries a month, in every continent except Antartica. i think it is fair to say that I am more well traveled than most people here including Tyler. The infrastructure in the U.S. IS bad compared to Europe, many countries in Asia, the Gulf States and Australasia. Some of these countries may be non-Democratic but many countries with superior infrastructure are Democracies.

Generally, large American airports are surprisingly antiquated and non-user friendly compared to coninental Europe, Asia and Australia. Mass transit is far superior in many developed and developing countries. I won't even go into the relative state of U.S. bridges, or water and sewage infrastructure for that matter.

Of course, this being an internet comments section I'm sure there will be quibbles and examples of particular countries or cities where this is not true. But overall U.S. Infrastructure is in relatively bad shape. I see this with my own eyes month in and month out.

So, what exactly is the gripe?

More interested in the specifics of airport weaknesses than pontificating about water supply and sewage systems, which I imagine are tough to judge at 30,000 feet.

Actually I gripe and judge infrastructure when I am at 0 feet laying over in these cities for half the month using their infrastructure. I like to point out that the US infrastructure is lacking and starting to fall behind an increasing part of the world and the current trend is not good.

Artimus, my specific question was about airports, not mass transit which tangentially impacts the experience at an airport due to ease of transit to a city. Your response was yet another vague statement that US airports are terrible without specifying what aspects you find so deficient. (Are the runways falling apart?)

I travel internationally infrequently (maybe once every two years to Europe) and have not seen a dramatic quality difference in airports where I've been (Reykjavik, Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen, Moscow) unless one's primary concern when traveling is brightly-lit duty free shops.

I don't think the point on savings is irrelevant. There are two ways in which it is likely to be relevant (not that I have read the article). One is that government spending is limited and yet demand is insatiable. In Singapore people expect to save for their own old age and to some extent their own health care. They do not expect the government to pay. That means the Singaporean government has a lot of money to spend on other things like infrastructure. In America, ever since the Great Society, people have expected the government to pay for a lot of those things. They do not save because they expect the government will look after them. That means the US government did not have a lot of money left over to pay for Vietnam - opting for inflation and the end of the Breton Woods agreement - or even something like NASA's follow-ups to the Moon program. They certainly do not have a lot left over for infrastructure.

The other is that Singaporean savings are a type of taxation. They do not call it that but people are forced to save and that money is given to the Lee family to do with as they please. Some of that will go into infrastructure one way or another.

I've increasingly been noticing and contemplating the incredible slow pace of a minor infrastructure projects along my bike commute home (Calgary, Canada), a 100 meter stretch of pathway repair and some minor flood remediation and prevention measures. So far it has taken over 2 years and I would be surprised if the work was completed by the end of this summer.

Admittedly I tend to ride by in the afternoon, but early enough that people should be working, and while there is usually a bunch of material piled up, scattered heavy equipment and several contractor vehicles parked in the area I rarely see any actual construction activity that doesn't look remarkably like loitering. The same holds true for major roadwork and other infrastructure I drive by -- nobody ever seems to be working that fast or that hard, if any motion is visible at all. I know office work is a different beast, but in my many years of experiences in various white collar environments there was simply a lot more hectic activity going on.

One airport a couple of bridges and s few miles of roads sounds like very little worth to bargain away your system for. Are New York and Boston significantly less equipped?

Subway in Boston, is like riding in a museum train, what a joke.

Its pretty obvious this is a major issue.

You'd think there would be an easy answer, or at least some easy partial answers. The fact that no one has any suggests its embedded in some feather nests and difficult to find out.

Are we overpaying for asphalt?

or labor?

or environmental impact reports?

or mud mitigation?

Slate Star Codex did a whole post on this, and no one had much of an answer. As a Californian who lives in the state's capital, I look at all the busy state worker bees and I think I know the answer...but who knows.

"pro-saving public policies"

I'm not sure what this even means. The U.S. has lots of tax breaks for investment and repealed the deduction for consumer interest. Are those pro-saving public policies? Does it really matter if the saving is in the public sector via Social Security taxation, or the private sector?

And, how much infrastructure does a city-state need v. a sprawling continental country like the U.S.? Even England has more population density as an entire country than the Atlanta metro area. The infrastructure needs of Kansas or Montana with very low population density are much different than those of a city-state. The land area of Singapore is 277.6 square miles. It's population is 5.535 million as of 2015. It has a population density of more than 20,000 people per square mile! This can support a lot of infrastructure spending per square mile.

This is like fitting the entire U.S. population ins 75% of the land area of West Virginia.

Dear friend,
That I address you as a friend is no formality. I own no foes. My business in life has been for the past 33 years to enlist the friendship of the whole of humanity by befriending mankind, irrespective of race, colour or creed.

That I address you as a cow should be offensive. I own no fish. My business in life has been for the past infinitive to extinct the existinence of all schools of fish, including coral and seaweed and sand.

Take our queen of France. Casablanca to 1942. Highways on Manhattan. Pawn to D-day.

Universal suffrage? Yes Hillary and Adolph, there are absolutely literal absolutes and of course something can be very unique, it's ironic vanity fair, while they are not sufficient and neither then is being a dog. Heal Hitler. He didn't get the joke Claudia Gene. Dogs are man's best friend for an absolutely good reason. We took a vote.

What's KF?


Let's go to Paul Revere Academy and cry T-Unit and John Donne in our Mackinaw jackets with our switchblades and pompadours.

Take our queen of France. Casablanca to 1942. Highways on Manhattan. Pawn to D-day. One hand in my pocket the whole time.

The problem is we approach public works in a fundamentally corrupt fashion: the first things we ask is what group of connected insiders will make the money on the contracts, and we then celebrate the "spend" as some sort of munificent contribution to the working class.

In other words, it isn't about the thing we're doing, it's about the money we're spending.

As long as we approach public works this way, we'll be screwed.

Hey Man, not with the kids.

They also strictly control labor unions.

It's not that simple. Many countries (EU) with stronger unions have lower infrastructure costs.

Unions do seem to be one of the major causes, although I suspect it has something to do the differential role that unions play with a US and EU project.

Good to know Tyler's cleaning up the comment section.

By this I'm talking about the copy-paste spammers, I'm not advocating censorship on the basis of viewpoint or anything like that.

Yet that has been going as long as the spam removal.

My god you are a baby.

What is amusing is how difficult it is to actually what this web site and its sister MRU is all about. Compare the fantasy PR story of MRU's founding with the reality of Roman Hardgrave, including how MRU is just one part of his responsibilities. As noted in a later PR piece, one showing how important it can be to use taxpayer funded PR resources to advance your personal career (a very old game for many of those 'at' GMU) - 'Mason economics graduate student Roman Hardgrave, who is also director of Mercatus’ online strategies, produced the videos, writing the scripts in collaboration with professor Don Boudreaux. A San Francisco-based production company added the animations and sound effects that heighten the viewing experience and keep the audience engaged.

For Hardgrave, who explored filmmaking earlier in his career, it was an assignment that combined his passions. “It’s a combination of storytelling and economics,” he says. “It’s fun to come up with ways that entertain but teach at the same time.”

Everyday Economics illustrates how economics affects just about every aspect of life. The four- to five-minute videos, which are as addictive as potato chips (bet you can’t view just one), demonstrate Mason’s and Mercatus’ “evolving video capabilities,” Hardgrave says. “Students are now more and more into video, and we felt this was the right product for communicating our content. This is the next step in online education videos.”


More Boudreaux videos should be posted in August. The next series, by popular demand, will feature influential Mason economics professor and Mercatus Center director Tyler Cowen describing the economics behind food. Cowen is author of the book, “An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies,” and is an avid food blogger. Hardgrave says the course should be on the website in the fall. Meanwhile, those with a question for Cowen, raise your hand.'

For commenters who profess such cynicism of how government is misused, it remains amazing at how with a bit of knowledge of how GMU works (and Buzz McClain has been there for decades, currently as a 'Communications Manager in the Office of Strategic Communications'), one can easily see a man working for the Commonwealth of Virginia being allowed to use taxpayer funded resources as long as a connection to GMU can be plausibly made - alumni or professorial activities or publications, for example, are almost always allowed to be presented to the public, and function well as a hook to write about other things 'at' GMU, so as to create the impression that something 'at' GMU is part of the university, and not something separate, which is the reality.

tl;dr. Quit whining.

Iglesias (the original source article) not only does not prove the case that others are building things cheaper than the US, he doesn't even present a good case for it! (Speaking as one who spent half a career working on public infrastructure projects.) I do, however, agree with Iglesias that the congressional inquiry should have gone forward. As someone who has spent a number of years in public infrastructure projects, I would agree that there is considerable room for improvement.
Back to the link to Sumner - he takes Iglesias' point and further distorts and twists it so that it looks like logic and reason - but is blatant idealogy. Gag me.

Perhaps look at the 4 billion metro station in NY:

At the same time, funding to upgrade the signaling system to make run trains run on reduced

That's a typical case of caring more about the looks that trains running on time.

What are Singapore's cost control mechanisms? Those ought to be transferable.

Population density of Singapore: 7,987 / km2
Population density of USA: 33 / km2

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