It has been reported before that Trump's aides were working on a fake infrastructure plan with virtually no money in it, but now we know when he intends to release it.
USA Today reports Trump will unveil the so-called "plan" during the State of Union Address later this month and the details of the plan actually made me laugh out loud.
Trump's plan would move the country away from a "project-based" system in which the federal government identifies infrastructure needs and gives money. The White House now plans to delegate that role to states and private investors, who would also provide the bulk of the funding. [...]
The Trump plan aims to generate $1 trillion for improvements, including a $200 billion federal funding commitment, according to the White House officials. The rest would be made up by state and local governments and private investors.
The federal dollars will go toward incentives for private investors, rural projects, and "transformative" projects such as high-speed rail or major tunnels, according to the officials.
I feel like we've thoroughly covered how absurd this idea is before as Republicans floated similar ideas while President Obama was still in office, but let's reiterate.
You may be able to convince me that wealthy, high-population states like New York, Texas, and California could find ways to fund a majority of their own infrastructure, but other states do not have a trillion dollars just laying around. Some small conservative states, such as Louisiana or Kansas, can't even afford the cost of their own health care and education. How are those states suppose to pick up nearly all of the federal government's fiscal burden?
This report that Trump wants to "move the country away" from the current status quo suggests his plan will call for cutting most federal investment in infrastructure and returning the money to the states, but not all states contribute the same amount of money. Smaller conservative state are net welfare states that receive more federal tax dollars from the government than they pay in. You could return every single tax dollar to the gulf coast and none of those states would be able to afford everything they need on their own.
Some states, such as New York, are preparing to file a lawsuit against the GOP tax bill signed into law last month because they feel as though their states are not being treated fairly. They believe the Republican Congress has raised taxes on them with the intent of redistributing it to other states.
Some Republican congressmen have defended the elimination of state and local tax deductions in high-tax states by laughably claiming their own conservative states have subsidized them, but nothing could be further from the truth and they know it.
And speaking of the GOP tax cut bill, it leaves the nation with virtually no money for anything. There's no money for a trillion dollar infrastructure plan or even a $200 billion plan. $200 billion may not even cover the cost of recovery in Texas, California, and Puerto Rico following last year's devastating hurricanes and wildfires. And it certainly won't cover the cost of the next hurricane or wildfire season in 2018.
There's a political risk for Democrats hinging on whether or not they choose to cooperate with Trump on an infrastructure plan, but I think Trump has eliminated that risk because this is a fake plan. And that's all Democrats need to say; it's fake. I expect even some Republicans in Congress will oppose this plan because they knew their own states could never afford it and they now have one less vote in the Senate.
By making this fake infrastructure plan his "top priority" in 2018, an even higher priority than cutting health care, that may ensure Republicans accomplish virtually nothing this year. Republicans only have until the Spring to do whatever it is they're going to do before the midterm election overtakes everything.
By the way, we're two weeks away from a possible government shutdown. Again.