Tag: Infrastructure

The Biden Tax Idea That Will Hit You. Good and Hard.

 

We haven’t seen details of President Biden’s “Made in America Tax Plan.” It’s designed to pay for his $2 trillion “infrastructure” plan. All we have is an 18-page description published by the Department of the Treasury. But it’s a good guess that we will get all the details when the White House finally sends its FY2022 budget and supporting materials to Congress, likely after he finally delivers his first State of the Union (SOTU) address before a Joint Session of Congress on April 28, right before his 100th day in Congress. That’s a popular but meaningless benchmark that journalists like to write about.

But one needs to go back to the 2020 campaign and read or hear what then-candidate Biden promised as part of his tax plan. We know that he promised to repeal the “Trump Tax Cuts” that lowered tax rates for everyone and really lowered corporate income tax rates from the world-highest 35% to 21%. Biden also promised not to raise taxes on incomes of less than $400,000 per year.

The Mental World of Joseph Biden–Technology Department

 

Here’s President Biden, in his ‘infrastructure’ speech, talking about the future of transportation:

I tell the kids…they’re going to see more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 50 years. We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds — supersonic speeds. Be able to, figuratively, if you may — if we decided to do it, traverse the world in about an hour, travel 21,000 miles an hour. So much is changing. We have got to lead it.

Join Jim and Greg as they applaud Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema for thus far refusing to kill or even “reform” the Senate filibuster – despite immense pressure from the left. They also shake their heads as New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tries to argue that paid leave, child care, and caregiving fall under infrastructure. And the California recall spectacle may already be underway as the first celebrity hints at running for governor.

Giveaways Disguised as Infrastructure

 

This past week, President Joe Biden unveiled his new $2 trillion infrastructure plan, scheduled for implementation over the next eight years. He delivered a pep talk about it before a union audience in Pittsburgh: “It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America. It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes, and we can get it done.” One central goal of his program is to tackle climate change by reaching a level of zero net carbon emissions by 2035. Many of Biden’s supporters gave two cheers for this expansion of government power, including the New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo, who lamented that the program is too small to work, but too big to pass. Huge portions of this so-called infrastructure bill actually have nothing whatsoever to do with infrastructure.

In one classic formulation by the late economist Jacob Viner, infrastructure covers “public works regarded as essential and as impossible or highly improbable of establishment by private enterprise.” Classical liberal theorists like Viner believe it is critical to identify a limited scope of business activity appropriate for government. And even here, while government intervention may be necessary to initiate the establishment of an electric grid or a road system, oftentimes the work is completed by a regulated private firm, overcoming government inefficiency in the management of particular projects.

Biden’s use of the term “infrastructure” is merely a rhetorical flourish, the sole purpose of which is to create an illusion that his proposed menu of expenditures should appeal just as much to defenders of small government as it does to progressive Democrats. A quick look at the proposed expenditures shows that they include large transfer payments to preferred groups that have nothing to do with either infrastructure or climate change. Consider this chart prepared by NPR, which breaks down the major categories of expenditure:

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome the Biden administration’s grudging concession that there needs to be upgrades to our physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. They also groan as the Senate parliamentarian, as expected, will allow the Democrats to pursue one more bill by a simple majority during this fiscal year. That means the $2 trillion “infrastructure” bill can become law without a single GOP vote in Congress. And they get a kick out of President Biden trying to pretend he wasn’t a major catalyst in getting the all-star game moved out of Atlanta.

Rob Long is in for Jim today. Rob and Greg react to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo doing exactly what Rob said he would do to distract from his many scandals. Then they’re glad to see President Biden’s poll numbers sinking on immigration policy. They also explain how Biden’s “infrastructure” bill appears to include a bunch of Green New Deal provisions, guts freedom to work. And they call out the left’s refusal to acknowledge basic biological reality when it comes to determining a person’s sex.

Join Jim and Greg as they marvel at some Democrats conveniently worrying about our massive debt just one day after passing a bloated COVID relief bill totaling $1.9 trillion and eyeing an even more expensive bill in a couple of months. They also discuss the sixth allegation of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and when state Democrats will move from muttering things about resignation to an actual impeachment effort. And they discuss the mess at the southern border thanks to Biden’s deportation moratorium and stated plans of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Charles Marohn joins Michael Hendrix to discuss why the current approach to suburban development isn’t working—the subject of his new book, Strong Towns: A Bottom-Up Revolution to Rebuild American Prosperity.

“Strong Towns,” notes Aaron Renn in his review of the book for City Journal, “resulted from [Marohn’s] discovery that the highway projects he designed showed a negative return on investment.” Marohn has dedicated his career to helping the country’s older suburbs avoid such costly mistakes by founding the book’s namesake organization, Strong Towns. “Whether or not one agrees with his many observations and prescriptions,” Renn writes, “Marohn provides a valuable analysis of sprawl-based development.”

Beth Osborne, director of Transportation for America, joins City Journal contributing editor Nicole Gelinas to discuss the state of U.S. infrastructure and how federal spending could be used more effectively to improve safety and reduce fiscal waste.

The federal government spends between $40 billion and $60 billion on transportation infrastructure annually. In recent years, congressional leaders and the White House have pushed a $2 trillion plan to upgrade roads, bridges, and more. But such proposals, Osborne argues, “would throw more money into the same flawed system.”

What Just Happened in the Rose Garden?

 

Earlier today, President Trump commented about a planned infrastructure meeting that he just left with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer. This was followed by Pelosi and Schumer describing how the President left the meeting without the discussion on infrastructure even taking place. They were ready to present a 35-page plan and said the President just shut it down. They went on to describe how he “ran away” from the meeting.

Apparently, the President asked them to stop the constant harassment and re-investigation (of the Mueller Report) and threats of impeachment (of which there is no basis) so they can sit down and work together amicably. Is this unreasonable? Is it not insane to constantly backstab, threaten, and investigate, then expect to come into a meeting all smiles and get anything done? Would the meeting on infrastructure have gone well, had the Democrats accepted the two years of investigation that cost us, the American taxpayers, $35 to 40 million (and I think we’re still counting) several weeks ago when it was released?

I am beyond frustrated as a taxpayer and a US citizen. What if it were me, my administration, and my family who was interrogated for over two years, with investigation concluding no collusion or obstruction? Yet, they still chose not to accept the report, continued to ask for further investigations, and I was expected to enter a meeting all smiles ready to go? I would define that as insanity.

Make Florida Great Again

 

President Trump has been very busy this weekend in Florida. On Friday, he honored Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon, with a second proper presidential farewell and send-off, as he had done for Ambassador Nikki Haley. Earlier in the day, he appeared with Florida officials and the Corps of Engineers on the shore of Lake Okeechobee, highlighting an important infrastructure project.

Lake Okeechobee is a large freshwater lake described as the heart or the kidney of Florida. It is girded by a dike system, which has been in long-standing need of repair. The US Army Corps of Engineers has federal responsibility, as with other large waterways.

The first embankments around Lake Okeechobee were constructed by local interest from sand and muck, circa 1915. Hurricane tides overtopped the original embankments in 1926 and 1928, resulting in over 2,500 deaths.

Robert Poole joins City Journal contributing editor Nicole Gelinas to discuss Poole’s new book, Rethinking America’s Highways: a 21st-Century Vision for Better Infrastructure.

Americans spend untold hours every year sitting in traffic. And despite billions of taxpayer dollars spent by transportation agencies, our nation’s roads, tunnels, guardrails, and bridges are in serious disrepair. According to transportation expert Poole, traffic jams and infrastructure deterioration are inevitable outcomes of American infrastructure policymaking, which is overly politicized and prone to short-term thinking.

“Making America toxic again,” as one publication suggested, or a public servant dedicated to paring honest science and environmental stewardship? Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, stops by to explain how the Trump Administration has reoriented the EPA, its highlights and priorities, and how a former college baseball player deals with political hardball in the nation’s capital.

This week on Banter, AEI visiting scholar and director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy Rick Geddes joined the show to discuss the Trump administration’s long-awaited infrastructure plan and the future of US infrastructure policy. Geddes’ work at AEI focuses on infrastructure, public and private partnerships, the US postal system and postal delivery policy, and corporate governance. He hosted Under Secretary for Policy at the Department of Transportation Derek Kan and a panel of infrastructure policy experts at AEI for a discussion of the details of the plan. You can watch the full event video at the link below.

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Member Post

 

I’d like to bring up the topic of infrastructure. President Trump, of course, beat me to it last year. He talked about the sad state of American infrastructure, how our roads, bridges and related facilities are in a sorry state, and how it’ll take over a tril to fix ’em. There have been a few […]

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Make America Safe Again: A Steel of a Deal

 

President Trump knows more about structural steel than any president since the great civil engineer Herbert Hoover. Media of every flavor took the President’s comments, about requiring the use of US steel in petroleum pipeline construction, at face value, as only a jobs program. While “free” trade advocates got the vapors about protectionism and warned of harm to the US economy from artificially high prices, no one bothered digging into the critical assumption.

A year later, President Trump threatened to impose steel tariffs. There was much back-slapping and hand-wringing, all having to do with the price of steel and supposed resulting gains and losses in jobs. In the midst of this noise, Mark Davis, a Texas radio talk show host, took a call from a welder. (Starts at 23:50.)

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are leery in general that any infrastructure bill can avoid becoming a huge waste of money but they are glad to see President Trump asking states to play a major role in funding the plan.  They also unload on the mainstream media for writing glowing reviews of Kim Jong-Un’s sister and how she is supposedly executing a diplomatic masterpiece at the Olympics.  And they rip the press for falling for the supposedly charming North Korean cheer squad, when they’re really slaves of a regime that will punish them and their families if they make any mistakes.  And they roll their eyes at CNN for reporting that Sen. Bob Corker is thinking about reconsidering his retirement, even as Corker’s office says there is nothing to the story.

Richard Epstein opines on whether Donald Trump or Barack Obama deserves more credit for the current economic expansion, then tackles the policy agenda the president laid out in his State of the Union address.

John Tierney joins Seth Barron to discuss the Trump administration’s plans to reform how infrastructure projects are managed and funded.

Civil engineers and other experts (including here at City Journal) have warned for years that the country’s roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, and rail lines are in serious need of repair. Thanks in part to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, infrastructure is now at the top of the national agenda.