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Infrastructure on the cheap February 13, 2018

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Entertaining to see the great investment by Trump in infrastructure is rather diminished by the following:

Donald Trump is to unveil a $200bn plan to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure – a plan that falls woefully short of the trillions civil engineers say is needed to rebuild the country’s tattered backbone and is likely to face intense opposition from Democrats and Republicans.

The proposal would earmark $200bn in federal funds aimed at encouraging states, cities and private enterprise to rebuild the nation’s dams, roads, bridges, airports and other essential infrastructure. The aim is to encourage $1tn of extra investment.

But surely those billions are a fantastic investment… Surely not:

The promised federal funds are a fraction of the $2tn that the American Society of Civil Engineers says is needed to repair US infrastructure. Last year, the ASCE gave the US’s infrastructure a D+ grade and said failure to act would cost the US economy $4tn by 2025.

And… many of the funds are actually from existing budgets and therefore do not represent a real investment. Oh, granted there’s meant to be…

…another $1.3 trillion dollars of state, local, and private money to be determined at a later date.

It comes out to $20 billion a year, over 10 years—a modest increase in the federal outlay for building projects. The government routinely spends several times that amount on this stuff: In 2014, for example, Washington spent $96 billion on transportation and water alone. Trump wants this new money to cover those projects—plus rural broadband and power, Superfund sites, and perhaps even commercial space travel.

But as Slate notes, the monies in the $200bn are mostly taken from existing budgets!

But however little it is relatively, and keep in mind this is a continent wide state, it is still too much for some:

Trump is likely to face opposition, too, from fiscally conservative Republicans, especially following the passage of last year’s $1.5tn tax cut plan and last week’s budget agreement, which critics charge will add another $420bn to the national debt.

Remember when some people were applauding all this – indeed there were even voices on the left quietly suggesting this was something that would pump prime the US economy, that in fact this represented some opening to a sort of vaguely traditional social democratic left approach. Perhaps of a piece with this, which Slate notes:

Infrastructure was once thought to be the ground for bipartisan consensus, the place where Democrats might, perhaps, be willing to work with Trump. Democrats have been pushing new infrastructure spending for years, and they are eager to reclaim their appeal with the kind of white working-class tradesmen who could benefit from a massive building boom. But several Democratic lawmakers have already come out against the plan, as have building-happy allies like the Transportation Trades Department at the AFL-CIO.

Well, let’s throw that on the pile that contains all the rhetoric about the ‘working class’ (where the word ‘white’ is an entirely unnecessary and obnoxious prefix) etc…


1. EWI - February 13, 2018

Called it. You’re missing the real stingers in this – there’s a huge (and unjustified) carveout for rural infrastructure in ‘Red’ states, but most importantly that federal funding isn’t permitted for more than 20% of a project.

This is a blatant privatisation move on US public infrastructure.


2. CL - February 13, 2018

‘Days after the inauguration, the leaders of several building trade unions met with President Donald Trump at the White House, outraging those on the left who want organized labor to lead the resistance to the president’s anti-worker policies. The building trades cited Trump’s call for infrastructure investment and their warm personal relationship with him as reasons to be optimistic about his presidency. ‘

“It is Finally Beginning to Feel Like a New Day for America’s Working Class…
President Trump … has shown that he respects laborers who build our great nation, and that they will be abandoned no more.”
Terry O’Sullivan, President Laborers International union.

“A long-time, vocal supporter of Sinn Féin and its work to secure a peaceful, just, and united Ireland, Terry O’Sullivan serves as President of New York Friends of Ireland and Chairman of DC Friends of Ireland.”


O'Connor Lysaght - February 13, 2018

John Mitchell Lives.


3. CL - February 13, 2018

“Trump “infrastructure” plan is a thinly disguised effort to sell valuable public properties and roadways– including Dulles and National airports and the GW Parkway– to their billionaire cronies and stiff the public. Kleptocracy redux” Norm Ornstein.

“we believe that the Trump administration’s focus on infrastructure presents our nation with significant bipartisan opportunities.”
Terry O’Sullivan and Senator Sullivan.


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