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Senate Dems Infrastructure Plan: A Tale of Tax Hikes and Transit Subsidies

The plan calls for $1 trillion is spending on everything from walking trails to high-speed internet.

Ron Sachs/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomRon Sachs/dpa/picture-alliance/NewscomSenate Democrats released their own infrastructure plan this week. It is both terribly conventional and just plain terrible.

The so-called "Jobs & Infrastructure Plan for America's Workers" promises $1 trillion in direct federal spending—not just on traditional infrastructure line items, such as highways, bridges, and ports, but also on schools, housing, and high-speed internet.

"Our plan would create more jobs than the administration plan, build more projects, and build the infrastructure America actually needs, not just what crony donors and private investors can profit from," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.).

That White House proposal would spend $200 billion in federal funds with the hopes of spurring an additional $1.3 trillion in state, local, and private investment, while streamlining the federal permitting process and doing away with regulations that discourage the use of user fees and private infrastructure provision. The Democratic plan would instead overturn a host of recent tax cuts to fund a federal infrastructure spending binge while attaching even more regulations to that spending.

Their plan calls for jacking up the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 25 percent, raising the top income tax bracket back to 39.6 percent, and scrapping changes that the Republican tax bill made to the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Estate Tax. This, Democrats claim, will add up to a little more than $1 trillion in tax increases over 10 years.

A good portion of this would go toward what people might traditionally think of when hearing the word "infrastructure." This includes $115 billion for water and sewer systems and $140 billion for roads. Some $40 billion of that road money would go toward building and repairing the nation's bridges, with another $100 billion being spent on highways. An additional $140 billion would be put into the Highway Trust Fund.

Transit spending and grant programs would also get a big boost, with $115 billion going toward a plan to "repair and improve public transportation." This would see federal taxpayers shelling out more for even the most routine local transit expenditures, including $30 billion for new buses and rail cars, $15 billion for "urgent repair projects," and a $35 billion boost to grant programs that fund everything from maintenance to transit security.

The feds would also pony up another $3 billion to build recreational trails, bike paths, and other infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.

A lot in the Democratic proposal is at best tangentially connected to infrastructure. This includes $50 billion in aid to local school districts and community colleges, $62 billion for affordable housing and "neighborhood revitalization" (including a call to expand the scandal-ridden Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program), and $40 billion for a "universal internet grant program."

This raises the hackles of some pro-market transportation experts, including Baruch Feigenbaum of the Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website. Truly federal priorities "like the interstate system, and the major arterial roads, the national highway system in the U.S., are incredibly expensive," says Feigenbaum. It's better for scarce federal transportation dollars to go there, he says.

The fact that Democrats are in the minority encourages lavish proposals like the ones in this document. When you don't control the levers of power, it's a lot easier to escape blame for not following through on your promises. But since the Trump administration will likely need some bipartisan backing to get his infrastructure proposal through Congress, the Democratic proposal may serve as an outline of the kinds of concessions that will be necessary to secure their support.

Says Feigenbaum, "The president laid out his vision. Now the Democrats are laying out their vision. The reality is its going to be something in the middle."

Photo Credit: Ron Sachs/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

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  • silver.||

    "Says Feigenbaum, "The president laid out his vision. Now the Democrats are laying out their vision. The reality is its going to be something in the middle.""

    bi-partisan: adj. of or relating to an effort by legislators to work together to screw over citizens more

  • Crisp||

    I'd rather spend a trillion building roads than a trillion building bombs. If Republicans had not spent trillions on military crap over these last twenty years we'd have the roads and the tax cuts.

  • jcw||

    I'd rather spend a trillion building roads than a trillion building bombs.

    Your grammar is wrong. It should be "spend a trillion building roads then a trillion building bombs."

    False choices.

  • Crisp||

    Republicans and their brain dead authoritarian followers are the prime reason we've wasted so much money building things for the military that have no use for 99% of Americans.

  • Loss of Reason||

    How are the roads doing from the stimulus package? They were all shovel ready projects.

    Yeap, it's just the Republicans that waste money. Unlike the Democrats and their zombie/idiot followers that really show how to waste money.

    *Note government just sucks are money management

  • DrZ||

    ""Our plan would create more jobs than the administration plan, build more projects, and build the infrastructure America actually needs, not just what crony donors and private investors can profit from," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.)."

    He forgot to add that all we have to do is increase the taxes on workers so that we can help them.
    It's sort of like we have to destroy the village in order to save it (I think Hillary Clinton said that).

  • Chumby||

    I think she said it takes a village to be worthy of pillage.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    The Democrats have this great omelette recipe, and they hope to have the support of a majority of eggs this November.

  • damikesc||

    I'd rather spend a trillion building roads than a trillion building bombs. If Republicans had not spent trillions on military crap over these last twenty years we'd have the roads and the tax cuts.

    I love the belief that we'd have super-awesome infrastructure if not for military spending.

    Because government spending too much on bad infrastructure is a new thing...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The so-called "Jobs & Infrastructure Plan for America's Workers"...

    Or Gyp, aw.

  • Microaggressor||

    You know who else had a plan for their country's workers?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    FDR?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Cesar Chavez?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Jimmy Hoffa?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Mindaugas Murza?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Henry Ford?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Fans of the Civilization series of games?

  • Chumby||

    Mexportico?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Democratic plan would instead overturn a host of recent tax cuts to fund a federal infrastructure spending binge while attaching even more regulations to that spending.

    Ha, classic. I guess Trump ain't looking so bad in some respects, is he, Reason?

  • Crusty Juggler||

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    AT LEAST THE OLD LESBIAN IN THAT PICTURE IS DOING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. What are you doing?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Masturbating in a chamber of commerce office.

  • Ska||

    +1 stampeding cattle through the Vatican

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Finally registered as a Republican, huh?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    I did park in between a sea of late model BMWs...

  • Citizen X - #6||

    You already straight up said you were masturbating. Why are you reverting to euphemism now?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Says Feigenbaum, "The president laid out his vision. Now the Democrats are laying out their vision. The reality is its going to be something in the middle."

    A spit-roasted American taxpayer?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    +1 Wobbly H

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Honestly, this should replace the eagle on the Great Seal of the United States.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    The feds would also pony up another $3 billion to build recreational trails, bike paths, and other infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.

    Real Americans get their exercise by pounding fists with their meat, chasing chickens, and running up museum steps, not lollygagging down some tax-payer funded trail like some Commie fag.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Museum? You must be one of them citydwelling cucks. Real Americans get their exercise from hunting, watching football, and standing during certain songs.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    and standing during certain songs.

    Like Born Free by Kid Rock?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Exactly.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The only song Hugh stands to is Losing My Religion by REM.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You never realize how long that song really is until you have to stand all the way through it.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It's four and a half minutes long. You can't stand for four and a half minutes, Hugh?

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    Not according to his wife, HEYOOOO!

  • Ska||

    pounding fists with their meat

    But enough about your plans tonight.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Truly federal priorities "like the interstate system, and the major arterial roads, the national highway system in the U.S., are incredibly expensive," says Feigenbaum. It's better for scarce federal transportation dollars to go there, he says.

    OMG Cosmo alert!

  • Mickey Rat||

    Where is the pearl clutching about the deficit?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Probably in an article where massive government spending doesn't come with revenues to cover it.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Theoretically, anyway.

  • Mickey Rat||

    So he is that credulous?

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Sandwiched between the cosmo grumbles and beta cuck whinging.

  • Microaggressor||

    You're not thinking with multiplier effects. They're like investments, but magical.

  • Rat on a train||

    You can multiply by negative numbers.

  • TxJack 112||

    So basically the Democratic plan is undo all the tax cuts that have spurred the economy, increase government spending and give the Feds even more control over our lives. Do they actually think this is a winning strategy? All Democrats know how to do is raise taxes, but then want to blame everything except themselves when they lose elections. They are truly a party of loons in total denial.

  • jcw||

    They are truly a party of loons in total denial.

    Tell me about it.

  • Nardz||

    It looks like Chuck's a better comedian than cousin Amy...
    I guess that's not really saying much though

  • Crusty Juggler||

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Just tell me who get paid?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Says Feigenbaum, "The president laid out his vision. Now the Democrats are laying out their vision. The reality is its going to be something in the middle.""

    Looks like someone hasn't been paying attention to the level of so called obstruction on capitol hill.

  • Chumby||

    Why not just break everyone's window so we have to buy new ones?

  • Heddin_South||

    Chuck is telling us what our country could have had if we hadn't handed over gigantic tax cuts to the people and corporations least needing them.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    Yeah, right, sure. Let's just pass a trillion dollar expenditure and trust the government to use it wisely, appropriately, and effectively. And as for "people and corporations least needing them" I am neither but will gladly take all of Nancy's $1,000 "crumbs" headed my way.

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