Telling graphs about American infrastructure spending

A number of commentators in recent years have pointed out the relatively small amount of spending on infrastructure by the American government. Here is another take on this, complete with some handy graphs. Additionally, here is some interpretation about government spending on education and technology:

Productivity-enhancing spending, according to Meeker, comes from three main sources: infrastructure, education and research and development investment. We’ve seen infrastructure spending collapse as a share of the budget since the 1960s. What about education and R&D?

In 1970, the U.S. (at the federal, state and local level) spent twice as much on education as health care. Twenty years later, health care closed the gap, and today, total government spending on health care is about 33 percent higher than education spending, which is more or less even with its 1970s levels.

Second, look at technology. R&D spending exploded in the late 1950s and 1960s on the back of government investments in aeronautics and science. Fifty years later, federal R&D has fallen below 1950s levels as a share of GDP, while the private sector has picked up the slack.

So after looking at figures like this, I want to ask what kind of strategies could be utilized to tackle the issue of infrastructure spending, particularly with budget issues looming all over the country?

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