I don’t know what will or will not happen to the second part of the infrastructure package but at this point what we already have is a big deal (a “BFD”, if you prefer) and I want to spend another day talking about it.
Infrastructure week became the most popular punchline in Washington under Donald Trump. That is because his original plan was a supposed public-private partnership that was a scam that enough of the nation saw through. Under it the public would have financed the projects and selected private interests would have ended up owning the assets.
The last great infrastructure projects were under FDR as part of the New Deal and Eisenhower (with a significant assist from the late then-Senator Al Gore, Sr.) the Interstate Highway System. Under Ronald Reagan we neglected infrastructure as a budgeting gimmick and all presidents since then have largely followed suit. Effectively for my entire lifetime, with the somewhat exception of the Interstate Highway System, we have largely ignored infrastructure. Keep in mind I’ve been retired for years.
1.2 trillion is a big number that few of us can relate to. To put it in perspective (and it works a bit differently in reality) that would fund 1,200 $1 billion projects. At $500 million the number of projects increases to 2,400 or 48 per state. We have 3,006 counties in America. That comes out to just under $400 million per county.
This is just the traditional (think roads and bridges) part of the infrastructure proposal. (I will admit I do not know what will happen with the so-called social infrastructure package; but I’ll be watching and commenting.) Everyone benefits under the package we already have. The only possible exception I could think of was a recluse. But even they benefit because the goods they consume travel over those roads and bridges. Think of what a collapsed bridge costs the economy.
The “great achievement” of the Trump administration was the Trump Tower Tax Cut. I call it that, (purloined from Chris Matthews), because basically you had to be wealthy enough to afford to live in Trump Tower to benefit from it. That package cost American taxpayers $1.5 trillion or $300 billion more. Unlike the Biden infrastructure package, it did almost nothing to benefit the economy or average American.
Let’s take a brief look at how it got from concept to legislation. Every Democratic Senator and all but 6 Democratic members of the House voted for it. 19 of 50 or 38% of Republican senators voted for the bill. 13 of 213 or .06 % of Republican House members voted for the bill for an overall Republican congressional delegation support of 32 out of 263 or 12%. Even on the most generous curve that has to be a failing grade.
This is a big deal! (The use of Joe’s caught on a hot mike adjective is optional.)
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