During his winning campaign and in the month since, President-elect Donald Trump has promised to make America great again by, in part, massive infrastructure spending and rebuilding the U.S. military. History provides a valuable lesson for the incoming administration on how to make a dollar of increased spending serve multiple purposes. When FDR came to office, he saw the need to invest in infrastructure to create jobs and lift the economy. He also decided to improve the posture of the U.S. military. So he directed New Deal organizations like the Public Works Administration (PWA) to invest in critical defense projects. The PWA funded construction of the aircraft carriers Yorktown and Enterprise, whose planes were largely responsible for sinking the four Japanese aircraft carriers at Midway. The President-elect can simultaneously improve national infrastructure, bolster defense and create jobs. I have written a commentary on this for The National Interest here.
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