The Contract to Rebuild America

I have a message for President Obama and the Democratic National Committee: Nationalize the 2014 Congressional elections coming in November by giving American voters a simple choice.  Start by stealing a Republican idea, Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, which was announced six weeks before the 1994 mid-term election and is credited with helping Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress. The President and Congressional Democrats need to set the terms of this fall’s election. Many thoughtful people believe the single best action that could be taken to invigorate the economy and inject a strong sense of purpose into the national culture would be a massive project aimed at renewing our country’s infrastructure, a maintenance job that has been too long deferred. Let’s call it “The Contract to Rebuild America,” and have the President tell the voters that if they give him a supportive Congress he will make this the signature legislative focus of his last two years in office. It’s time for America to invest in itself in a big way.  The jobs would go to people who drive trucks and people who design bridges, all the way along the employment ladder. Done the right way, the physical improvements would save energy and be environmentally smart in the long run. We need a 21st-century version of all of our airports, train systems, schools, waterworks, sewerage treatment plants, bridges and tunnels, digital grid, harbors, power sources, parks and commons, auditoriums and stadiums, sidewalks and freeways, and the rest of the built things that we all use. The projects would employ engineers and electricians, plumbers and architects, carpenters and crane operators, masons and budget managers, and more. President Obama should say, “Give me a Congress that will rebuild America! Give me a Congress that will build a better America for our children and grandchildren! Give me a Congress that will work with me and for you—and we will renew the social contract, starting with a promise to rebuild the physical assets of our society that contribute to our economic vitality and social happiness!”