OECD urges U.S. to spend more on infrastructure
Traffic stacks up on the eastbound Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles Thursday July 3, 2008, as residents of Southern California leave work to start their holiday weekend. (AP / Kevork Djansezian)
The Associated Press
Published Friday, March 17, 2017 11:56AM EDT
BADEN-BADEN, Germany -- Governments need to do more to create growth that benefits everyone, and the U.S. should spend more on roads, highways, bridges and airports, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Friday.
The body, which includes the world's better-off countries, said in a report that governments should focus on providing better access to high-quality education and supporting employment for women through measures like affordable child care. It also highlighted the need for more spending on infrastructure.
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria called for an "upskilling of the workforce" to address worker anxiety about the future of their jobs amid technological change: "more focus on the type of education and the type of skills that you need that are being demanded by the productive sector, not merely more diplomas."
Gurria told The Associated Press that the aftereffects of the global financial crisis and recession were still being felt, even as unemployment has fallen, and that growth remains substandard.
"Are the benefits of this recovery being shared equally? The answer is no," Gurria said. "There is discontent, and frustration, with modernization, with trade, with digital, with investment regimes... And basically, you have to address it because this fragmentation on the economic side, on the social side, is moving on to the political side."
The result was electoral backlash and, especially in European parliamentary democracies, fragile coalitions that had trouble mustering support for decisive action.
"You still have the legacy of the crisis very much alive in terms of low growth, high unemployment, growing inequalities, and then a very large impact in the destruction of trust," he said.
The organization said U.S. spending on infrastructure "is not keeping pace with the needs of the evolving economy and is contributing to congestion, urban sprawl and environmental degradation." That echoes President Donald Trump's calls during his campaign for more infrastructure spending, though Trump place his emphasized on private investment alongside government as a source of funds. The OECD also said that the U.S.'s corporate tax rates are too high and should be reduced and simplified.
The Paris-based OECD produces extensive information and analysis on member countries' economies with an aim to improving growth. Its 35 members include many of the most advanced economies as well as and several developing ones.