Infrastructure

Dave Johnson

Good Lord, what is the matter with people? There are millions of jobs that need doing, and millions of unemployed. How hard is it to figure out what to do?

Next up before the Senate is an infrastructure bill. It’s simple, $60 billion to repair aging infrastructure. This creates hundreds of thousands of jobs while the work is underway, which means people will not be collecting government benefits, will be paying taxes, will be spending which boosts demand, and then when the work is done the economy works better making costs lower and our businesses are more competitive. It’s an obvious win-win for everyone.

A win-win for everyone except Republicans who understand that if the economy does better they will have a harder time in the next election.

The Bill

Isaiah Poole, in A $60 Billion Down Payment On The Essentials For Economic Renewal, explains,

This week the Senate will take up another proposal by the Obama administration to create jobs and move the country closer to economic recovery, this one a $60 billion plan for immediate spending on the nation’s roads, bridges, public transportation systems and other essentials to a vibrant, efficient economy. Of that, $50 billion is direct spending and $10 billion would take the form of an infrastructure bank that would be used to leverage private investment.

Here is the outline of that bill:

  • Immediately Invests in Our Roads, Rails and Airports ($50 Billion): The Senate bill provides $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation, helping to modernize an infrastructure that now receives a grade of “D” from the American Society of Civil Engineers and putting hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job. This investment will put people to work upgrading 150,000 miles of road, laying/maintaining 4,000 miles of train tracks, restoring 150 miles of runways, and putting in place a next-generation air-traffic control system that will reduce travel time and delays. The plan includes $27 billion to rebuild roads and bridges, $9 billion to repair transit systems, $5 billion for projects selected through a competitive grant program, $4 billion for construction of the high-speed rail network, $2 billion to improve airport facilities and $1 billion for a NextGen air traffic control system. The call for greater infrastructure investment has been joined by leaders from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue.
  • Establishes a National Infrastructure Bank ($10 Billion): The Senate bill establishes a National Infrastructure Bank capitalized with $10 billion that will leverage private and public capital to help fund a broad range of infrastructure projects. The Bank would be based on the model Senators Kerry and Hutchison have championed, which has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce while building on legislation by Senators Rockefeller and Lautenberg and the work of long-time infrastructure bank champions like Rosa DeLauro and the input of the President’s Jobs Council.
  • Asks Millionaires to Pay Their Fair Share Without Adding a Dime to the Deficit: In order to create or save hundreds of thousands of construction jobs, the Senate bill imposes a 0.7% surtax on modified adjusted gross income in excess of $1 million for both single filers and married couples filing jointly. The surtax is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012.
  • That tax would mean someone reporting $1,000,100 income after all deductions would pay an extra seven cents in taxes.

    The Obstruction

    Republicans in the Senate will unanimously oppose this bill — a filibuster.

    Republicans have stated that their top objective is to win the next election. Not to create jobs, not to help the economy, not to prevent another financial collapse, not to help prevent foreclosures, not to fight climate change, not to do anything except obstruct everything in order to make things worse, hoping this will turn people against government and democracy.

    The Cover

    The “mainstream” corporate media does not report this. They do not report that one party is filibustering bills, They do not report that there is obstruction. They instead tell the public that “the Senate” “blocked,” “rejected,” “failed,” or whatever they need to say to describe what happened without letting the public know what happened.

    Until the public is informed of what is going on in Washington, the gridlock will continue. An informed public is essential to a functioning democracy. An informed public is able to apply political pressure in the correct places.

    Previous posts on infrastructure:

    Reagan Revolution Home To Roost: America Is Crumbling

    Tax Cuts Leave Nothing Behind — Infrastructure Investment Leaves Behind Infrastructure

    Infrastructure Work Is Needed And People Need The Work

    State Of The Union—Infrastructure and Jobs: Two Problems, One Solution

    A Simple Plan To Fix The Jobs Emergency — And The Economy, Too

    Infrastructure Jobs, Repeat And Amplify

    Transportation Bill Actually Not Boring

    Big Ideas To Get America Working: Rebuild Our Infrastructure

    Unpaved: Out-Of-Cash America Undoing Its Infrastructure

    AFL-CIO Makes $10 Billion Infrastructure Commitment

    Where Is The Chamber’s Infrastructure Push? and Obama Should Call Chamber’s Infrastructure Bluff

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