NEW REPORT: The US Needs a National Investment Authority

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The federal government can secure the success of large-scale and long-term projects by creating an agency to build public-private partnerships and oversee economic revitalization.

A new report from The Justice Collaborative Institute and Data for Progress proposes the creation of the National Investment Authority, an agency that would use public-private partnerships to strengthen U.S. political and financial systems. Once created by an Act of Congress, such an agency could design, finance, and implement targeted programs of economic reconstruction and development with an emphasis on long-term sustainability and social inclusion.

The NIA would act as a direct financial market participant, channeling both public and private capital into transformative public infrastructure projects. The agency would leverage the federal government’s unique advantages as a market actor—its size, resources, long-term horizons, and focus on public benefit—to ensure private actors have ample incentive, even in the short term, to invest in programs designed for long-term public benefit, from education and health care to energy and utilities. 

“America’s future depends on our ability to restore the country’s great historic tradition of strong public institutions leading important economic transformations in times of national need,” said author Professor Saule T. Omarova, Beth and Marc Goldberg Professor of Law and Director of the Jack Clarke Program on the Law and Regulation of Financial Institutions and Markets at Cornell University. “As our most powerful agent, the federal government can and should find productive ways to harness market forces in order to rebuild America’s public infrastructure, create good jobs, and ensure sustainable and just economic growth.”

A survey introducing voters to the proposal and explaining its function found a majority of likely voters supported the idea (54 percent) and just a fifth opposed it (22 percent).

The report is available here.

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