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Poll: The public-private partnership

Should governments turn to private industry to solve their financial problems?

View Results

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Share your thoughts in the comments below.


  • Baritenorman

    This sounds like an idea for serious look at. Banks have the money, cities, counties, states have needs for immidiate infrastructure repair before it too late.

  • Russell Johnson

    Its amazing that anyone would concider using the big banks that litterly raped the world economy for loans for anything.  You can bet your sweet ass that any loan to a city would put the loan sharks to shame.  Not a single criminal son of a bitch has had as much as his butt spanked.  when some of those greedy criminal son of a bitches go to prision and the banks are nationalized then concider a loan from them.
    Russell Johnson
    Altus Arkansas

  • Dick Cardell

    The Republicans and the right wing press are trying to convince the public that the government can’t do anything except maintain an expensive military machine. We need to educate the public and force Congress to take action. We need a massive road building and infrastructure restoration program. Yes we can!

  • Tom

    Rom Emanual and the bankers will get richer, Chicago will go deeper into debt, Chicagoans will pay more for everything involved, and nothing will be better.

  • Mckinlayt

    Look at the Britsih experience where hospitals were build under this scheme the the public purse pays for ever for a building that will never belong to them. Just like Chicago’s parking fiasco!

  • Mckinlayt

    Look at the Britsih experience where hospitals were build under this scheme the the public purse pays for ever for a building that will never belong to them. Just like Chicago’s parking fiasco!

  • mcav

    I’m not sure who I dread more: the big banks or the Chinese investing in Wisconsin (see the book China Safari).  Also, if banks and corporations paid taxes, the cash they’re sitting on/hoarding would be revenue available to build infrastructure without interest.  

  • Nell Bartusch

    Look at our history.  Our infrastructure past infrastructure was built by the wealthy.  When there was no tax base, railroads, canals, roads, etc. were all built by the industrialists and state working together by raising bonds to finance these projects.  Mayor Emanuel is merely reverting to the past for help.  It worked then.  I hope it’ll work today. 

  • Anonymous

    If Rahm really believes his plan will work, then how much of his personal wealth is he investing in it? He said it will produce better than average returns, so I expect him to invest a significant portion of his net worth into it, otherwise talk is cheap.

  • Rwwellsbb

    This looks like a bad deal for everyone. The taxpayers will be saddled with expensive tax burdens for projects they do not get to vote for. The investors only make money if the city government handles the investments wisely and prevents overruns; governments would not need this type of project if they could manage that. The only people to benefit will be those lucky enough to be rewarded “finders fees” for helping negotiate the deal. 

  • Lauren Ayers

    Read how Public Banking is the best way to finance infrastructure at:

    Abraham Lincoln, 150 years ago, instructed the Treasury to bypass the banks and issue some 450 million debt-free ‘greenbacks’ to pay for the Union war effort during the Civil War.

    Or here’s Thomas Edison in the NY Times:
    Any time we wish to add to the national wealth we are compelled to add to the national debt.  It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30,000,000 in bonds and not $30,000,000 in currency. Both are promises to pay; but one promise fattens the usurer, and the other helps the people….

    It is stupid that for the loan of $30,000,000 of their own money the people should be compelled to pay $66,000,000 — that is what it amounts to, with interest. People who will not turn a shovelful of dirt nor contribute a pound of material will collect more money than will the people who supply the material and do the work….

    But here is the point: If our [government] can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good.

  • ConsiderThis

    You can’t blame Rahm for not wanting the progress of Chicago to be tied to the feds or politics in his home state. He’s spent enough time at both levels to know the system is beyond dysfunction right now AND the foreseeable future. This particular partnership for infrastructure projects may work. If it saves the city enough money to pay for the interest on the private loans – along with creating thousands of jobs, I say go for it. The needs are many and the resources few. However, I am not in favor of privately run public schools, prisons, etc. There are some areas where profit margin should not be the main focus and either leads to an inferior “product” and/or systemic corruption. I had to vote “no” in the poll above for this reason.

  • Pat Bradley

    The Infrastructure Trust is exactly the progressive approach needed to get America moving and break the government stalmate!  Cities (and states) throughout the country need to consider this as an answer to their economic and energy challenges.

    Pat Bradley, President/CEO
    National Green Energy & Jobs Initiative

    Tulsa, OK

  • Ancelgray

    I say FEWER PEOPLE, not more jobs to solve the jobs crisis.  “Economic Growth” always equals population growth in this country.  Population growth has caused major harm to this planet’s ecosystem.  So rather than throwing vast amounts of private “greedy” corporate money at our infrastructure repair, we should simply allocate what we have more wisely.  For example, here in Travis/Williamson counties (Texas), we give huge corporations big property tax breaks for coming here and bulldozing our countryside in the name of jobs.  And yet, our tax per capita always seems to go up!  How is that our tax per capita goes up when there is supposed to be a better economy of scale?  I say, no more tax breaks to bring population growth jobs.  Near Dallas, cities spent 1/2 billion dollars for a football stadium.  Nothing else needs to be said here to win this argument.

  • Guest

    Adding a for-profit layer into the financing structure of infrastructure improvements can do only one thing: siphoning off funds to the for-profit entities – funds which will never go into improving the public good.

  • Micngin

    How can we get the best of both?  In the short term the business proposal works but investment must make a return in the long term then the tax structure and lobbies will work to keep the money flowing but actual improvement will slow down  and infrastructure will need a new capitalist to help the next politician to fix the needs of the public again.

  • Penny

    Something has to be done. President Obama wanted to do cross country infrastructure workkIt would help improve the economy by hiring a huge amount of skilled workers, plus large support teams.As usual, Congress wouldn’t go fo it. they refuted every thing the President tried to do to
    Get more jobs for Americans. Obama is a very caring man and this constant battle , must cause him great pain. I thong this is the answer at time in History.Interest rates are low and business interest in these projects ois strong we have to proceed before more destruction happens’. !

  • Edie

    Good show tonight. Our trust in banks and private investors in the past has resulted in cities getting ripped off in huge interest rates chaged on money borrowed from banks to fix infrastructure. Private investors how invest in city projects using their own money should be able to get a fair return but not staggering amounts of profits that cripple cities ability to repay loans. The devil is in the details of Mayor Emanuel’s proposal. It must be fully transparent to the citizens before public-private partnerships are entered into.

  • Max

    Since the late 1990s, the
    whole concept of public-private partnerships started to emerge in both
    developed and developing countries.  The
    formal term for public-private partnerships is called “New Public Management” which
    is just a fancy phrase for privatization in which state bureaucracies divert
    public services such as water, sanitation, electricity, infrastructure and so
    on to the private sector.  One benefit to
    this approach is that it reduces the financial burden of federal, state, and municipalities
    to provide tax-paying dollars to service delivery to the public.  However, it is the public who will pay a
    higher cost in public services as a result of the private sector
    involvement.  The creation of an infrastructure
    project in any metropolitan city might create jobs only if the private construction
    companies are willing to complete public works programs using more of a labor-intensive
    process than a capital-intensive process that hires fewer workers.  Overall, public-private partnerships should
    only be used in the short-term to reduce costs to the public sector and
    increase state capacity—otherwise it can lead to undermining of civil servants
    skills, thus creating bureaucratic inefficiency.    

  • Poinsetta

    Washington’s refusal to coop the charge given by their constituents to improve the the essentials of life requires a maverick thought. Raymond Moley is quoted in “Freedom From Fear” referring to FDR’s thought: ‘He believed that government not only could, but should, achieve the subordination of private interests to collective interests, substitute co-operation for the mad scramble of selfish individualism. I applaud Chicago’s mayor for having the insight to try, as he put it, adifferent model.

  • Dave D.

    To say that U.S. corporations are sitting on a lot of cash is a gross understatement … in the extreme.  According to the mainstream media, the reported figure is between $2 trillion and $5.7 trillion domestically … depending on whether you’re going by Federal Reserve or IRS statistics.  But, when you begin researching various online resources, another $21 trillion to $32 trillion in corporate cash can be found hidden away in offshore tax havens.  Besides the obscene profits that corporations reap from their ‘customers’, they have also received billions in subsidies, tax breaks and taxpayer bailouts.  And, last year’s congressional audit of the Federal Reserve — a private sector institution — revealed that it created some $16 trillion out of thin air … and then essentially just gave it away to the largest, and most powerful banks and corporations in the world.  Meanwhile, the increased corporate privatization of our public infrastructures, institutions, resources, and services have further led only to their very decay, and to a national debt that is spiraling completely out of control.  And the avarice of the corporate elite is infinite.

    Just how much conclusive proof do we need to realize that trickle-down economics and privatization can only result in plutocracy?

  • David P.

    This country has gotten to the point where it can no longer afford to pay for infrastructure. It’s that simple. The amount of funding needed to upgrade our roads, ports, energy facilities, airports, etc. is staggering. What is equally staggering is the amount of money this country spends on New Deal programs that are still driving this country towards bankruptcy: Social Security, Welfare, the PBGC, etc. Therefore, the government must turn to private corporations to do what it cannot do: rebuild our infrastructure. It’s that simple. Public private partnerships are good things when structured fairly and when every one involved understands the terms of any given deal.

  • Hal Spake

    We’re told, states, cities and counties need to borrow money from banks for infrastructure improvement.   If I accept this argument then I must ask, “Why doesn’t the state, the city or the county create its own publicly owned  bank, financed with tax revenue, and borrow money from that bank for infrastructure upgrades.  Private banks, once money is lent, sell 90% of the loan to the Fed and then loan the new influx of credit to borrowers.  If private banks are borrowing money at near zero percent interest, why should communities put their tax money into private hands when those institutions are financed with public funds.  Let’s cut out the middle man and create banks that are citizen owned, part of our commonly held trust and work as public utilities.