How to: Save the Economy

   Tue, October 5, 2010 - 4:30 PM
Save the Economy: Dig and Refill Holes

Many folks look back fondly on FDR’s efforts to pull us out of the Great Depression. Killjoys point out that FDR’s deeply flawed policies didn’t work – we had the longest, most sustained depression since perhaps the Renaissance.

At least some solace is taken from the widespread assumption that WWII finally bailed us out. Perhaps some see today’s overseas adventures as serving a similar purpose in this economic tailspin.

But we don't need no new stinkin' wars to "stimulate" the economy. I have a FAR better plan.

To return to full employment and a prosperous nation, let's spend billions, nay, TRILLIONS to dig gigantic holes in the ground, and then simply refill them.

Offhand I can think of a dozen advantages of my plan vs. a WWII-type economic recovery strategy. Actually, my plan provides most of these advantages over ALL the other proposed stimulus and bailout packages as well. Consider:

We don't have to kill or maim throngs of people on "their" side – or ours.
We'd be destroying no property. Properly done, in a scant few years, these filled-in holes would be indistinguishable
from the surrounding landscape.
In WWII the GI's got paid a pittance. But my federally funded hole digging would be subject to the generosity of the Davis-Bacon Act – paying unskilled laborers $35 an hour in wages and benefits. Talk about stimulating!
In contrast to all the other suggested Keynesian spending, these projects are extremely green, using almost no
petroleum and wasting few resources – because we would use only shovels in an effort to employ a maximum number of workers.
Unlike most such public works efforts, the administrative overhead for my colossal projects would be minimal at
most. For you see, nobody really cares when the work is completed, or even IF it is completed. Just give everyone a shovel, and outline the hole to be dug -- Equal pay for all (though not perhaps for equal work).Indeed, the project could make work participation optional, except for the fact that the ornery voters and greedy taxpayers might feel that it’s
somehow wrong to pay people for useless work not performed (go figure).
There would be no lawsuits for failed infrastructure. No concern over shoddy workmanship, or using defective components.
The usually inevitable public works cost overruns could be self-corrected by periodically adjusting how deep the hole(s)
should be.
Since the holes would be dug far from busy roads, no one would be inconvenienced by the construction projects slowing
traffic, or doubled speeding ticket fines.
We would need no eminent domain proceedings to steal other people’s property. We could simply rent cheap, useless vacant land for a couple years while each project rushed to completion, and then the owner could decide what if anything to do next with his property.
Politicians LOVE to attend ground breaking ceremonies on public works projects. At the propitious moment, together they
each dig a single petite spadeful of dirt – to great applause and frantic picture taking. They then turn the project over to the pros with their giant Caterpillar equipment. But with my project, our politicos could dig a second shovelful, and then a third. And no need to stop there. Indeed, I see this ongoing work as a new requirement for holding office. Think of it as the next aerobics fad. An ancillary benefit is that the more time politicians spend digging, the less time they’ll spend legislating – a huge cost savings for us all.
Unlike most government activities, these projects would not compete with or undercut the private sector. Indeed, I know of no
company in America offering this unique service.
Perhaps most important, after the projects were completed, there'd be zero operating and maintenance costs.
I challenge all you free market fanatics: What could POSSIBLY be wrong with this perfect solution to our economic doldrums?

And please, don't bring up Frédéric Bastiat's broken window fallacy. I reject such logic-based refutations out of hand.

Kindly send my Nobel Prize in Economics (kept the medal – just remitting the check will suffice) to my offshore account.

My proposal is a no-brainer!


About the Writer:
Richard Rider
Richard Rider is chair of San Diego Tax Fighters and a columnist for North County Times (San Diego County, California). Phone: 858-530-3027. 10969 Red Cedar Dr., San Diego, CA 92131


add a comment
Tue, October 5, 2010 - 5:03 PM
we would have to import a lot of cheap imigrant labor for that. americans don't want to work that hard. in the meantime, my dogs have started on the holes. let me know when the crew of mexicans arrive to fill them in.
Tue, October 5, 2010 - 5:06 PM
**giggling @ AB**
Thu, October 7, 2010 - 2:43 AM