I’m a progressive, but it seems plausible to wonder if government can build a nation abroad, fight social decay, run schools, mandate the design of cars, run health insurance exchanges, or set proper sexual harassment policies on college campuses, if it can’t even fix a 232-foot bridge competently. Waiting in traffic over the Anderson Bridge, I’ve empathized with the two-thirds of Americans who distrust government. – Larry Summers
In one of my favorite blogs, Grumpy Economist, economist John Cochrane rather gleefully points to a recent frank admission by Larry Summers in his awakening to the validity of points made by conservatives and libertarians of their distrust of big government takeovers of massive swaths of the economy. This soft mea culpa was induced by his front-row seat to the dysfunction and multi-year long ineptitude and inability to repair a dilapidated bridge.
It isn’t that all of us of the limited government bent are reflexively loathing of government involvement in its properly limited spheres, of which infrastructure would presumably be one. I was in the Army after all, and I hardly advocate for privately paid and financed militias ala Hezbollah. It is just that there is rightfully a great amount of skepticism that funds taken and crowded out from the private sphere will be invested wisely or effectively in the public sphere given all that we have witnessed in America in the last few decades.