By Tank Murdoch
(TNS) One of President Donald Trump’s campaign pledges during the 2016 election was to pass an infrastructure bill aimed at rebuilding America’s crumbling roads, bridges, airports, and interstates.
In an October 2016 report, Business Insider noted that the soon-to-be president-elect was proposing a $1 trillion investment over many years that would not be paid for with tax increases, but rather would involve a combination of public and private investment:
Trump has long supported infrastructure spending, and has said he would double the $300 billion that his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, plans to spend on projects such as roads, bridges, and the like.
According to the report, Trump economic advisers Peter Navarro and Wilbur Ross developed the plan.
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Interestingly enough, the plan does not call for tax increases to finance the projects. A tax credit would be offered to private companies to finance projects, while the companies would also have to take equity investments in the projects. According to Yahoo Finance, $167 billion of the $1 trillion investment would be equity investment, while the rest would be debt raised by private partners.
Additionally, all projects built under the plan would be required to generate cash flow, like toll roads or airports that produce tax revenue instead of free parks or highways without tolls. The equity investment partners would also take the revenue, essentially privatizing much of the new infrastructure and making riskier investments more palatable.
So, what happened? Spygate happened followed by Democrats taking the House in 2018, then Ukrainegate, impeachment, and a host of other Left-wing distractions.
Now, suddenly, Democrats campaigning for the 2020 presidential nomination are revisiting President Trump’s infrastructure plan in a blatant attempt to pander to unions.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
Democratic presidential candidates said Sunday that the U.S. faces an urgent need to rebuild the nationâ€™s roads, bridges and highways, appealing to union workers ahead of Nevadaâ€™s Feb. 22 caucuses.
Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer courted several labor unionsÂ Sunday at a forumÂ sponsored by United for Infrastructure, a nonprofit organization made up of labor unions and trade associations.
The candidates said upgrading the countryâ€™s aging transportation system has been a promise that President Trump failed to keep during his first term and that their own infrastructure plans could serve as a counterweight to his re-election message.
â€œDo you remember one of the things that he promised? Infrastructure,â€ said Minnesota Sen. Klobuchar, who referenced the presidentâ€™s victory speech after the 2016 election. â€œWhile Congress has kept the funding going in some of the areas, we have not seen the big infrastructure investment that he promisedâ€”not one that keeps our country competitive.â€
Biden, meanwhile, in his typical tone-deafness, linked improving infrastructure to combating “climate change.”
“I think you do both,” he said, without explaining just how that issue, which consistently polls at the bottom of Americans’ most pressing concerns, is supposed to energize the union vote.
All of them — Klobuchar, Biden, Buttigieg and Steyer have proposed spending as much as Trump has proposed or more. In Steyer’s case, the price tag is $2 trillion but much of it will be ‘climate-change focused.’
“Everything weâ€™re going to do weâ€™re going to do from the standpoint of climate,” he said.
Meantime, this is an issue the president can own when it comes to debate time. For one, there are so many examples of TrumpÂ keeping his promises, and two, that he hasn’t gotten an infrastructure bill done can be laid entirely at Nancy Pelosi’s aging feet.
Trump and Pelosi agreed on a $2 trillion infrastructure plan in April 2019, but nothing’s been done since.
Democrats did introduce a $760 billion plan in late January, but again, this all could have been done months ago if Democrats weren’t fixated on removing the president from office.
And yet, even that legislation came with a catch, as the Washington Post reports:
The Democratsâ€™ ambitious and at times detailed proposal for building roads, transit systems, airports and water projects came with a glaring â€” and strategic â€” omission: They avoided saying how the vast majority of it should be paid for, arguing that Trump should be out front on that issue.
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The presidentÂ has been out front on that issue — since 2016.
Democrats are trying to steal infrastructure as an issue, but by debate time, Trump will have a four-year head-start on the eventual Democratic candidate.
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