The Collapse of Public Investment

A blog about business and economics.
May 7 2013 4:11 PM

The Collapse of Public Investment

Here's a chart showing the inflation-adjusted amount of state and local government investment in the United States in blue and federal inflation-adjusted nondefense investment in red. It makes for a kind of terrible chart, since the blue line is so much bigger than the red and thus you can't see things very clearly.

But to my way of thinking, that's actually the point. States and localities are so much more important than the federal government in driving nondefense public investment. We spend much more time talking about federal policy and politics than we do talking about state and local policy, but outside the (admittedly important) realms of the military and taking care of the elderly, it's at the state and local level where the bulk of governing happens.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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