Barack Obama wants to "hit the ground running" with massive spending to "jolt" the sagging economy and create or save 2.5 million jobs, with a federal spending program comparable to Roosevelt's New Deal and Eisenhower's Interstate highway system, created during the 1950's. Obama's plan to improve highways and bridges, build schools and promote green technology with federal money funneled through states, counties and cities won't look like his campaign promise to "rebuild America" — at least not right away. The sagging economy has put a premium on speed, rather than the kind of projects that make for a historic legacy. Critics contend the US can't spend its way to economic recovery. What kinds of projects will be involved? We look at the benefits and the risks for private businesses and for consumers.
Alec MacGillis, ProPublica (@AlecMacGillis)
James Galbraith, University of Texas, Austin
Amity Shlaes, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation (@AmityShlaes)
Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress