Franklin D. Roosevelt’s day, it was called pump-priming. Missouri’s senior Senator, a Republican not normally known for being a fan of the New Deal, is suggesting some of the 700-billion dollar federal bailout money be used to prime the pump.
For younger folks, priming the pump goes back to the old days of wells and hand-operated pumps. The gaskets, or "leathers," sometimes dried out and the pump wouldn’t work. Pouring water into the pump, or priming it, moistened the gaskets that would swell, allowing the pump to work.
Senator Bond suggests using some of the federal bailout money be buy municipal bonds that states and cities use to finance things like road and bridge improvements. He says the bond issues would create jobs.
He says $800 million dollars has been approved for rebuilding and repairing bridges; Lambert-St. Louis Airport needs $100 million for upgrades, and Kansas City has $200 million in bonds to use on water and sewers. Bond says the infrastructure bonds will provide jobs, right now, for people who would buy cars, make house payments, and other things that would revive the economy.
He is not a stranger to priming the pump. In his second term as governor, he advocated a 600-million dollar bond issue during another recession to put up new state buildings–and provide jobs.