When President Obama called for massive spending on infrastructure, it was hardly the first time he’d done it. Last fall, he called for $50 billion to put unemployed construction workers back to work. “All we need is the political will,” he said at the time.
But what sounds like a necessary investment in our future to some ears sounds like big government run amok to others. Supporters would point to Franklin Roosevelt’s Depression-era public works initiatives to build American cities and roads, airports, water systems and housing. Of course, FDR had his critics, too.
It remains to be seen how Obama’s agenda plays out for him. Historian Alan Brinkley joins Jon Meacham to discuss the Obama presidency and the challenges it faces. He is a professor of history at Columbia University and has written extensively about FDR and the New Deal.