Stupid Party

Trump’s Big Infrastructure “Plan” is to Have Less Infrastructure

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

I feel like calling this a "plan" is too generous, but here it is.

According to the New York Times, Trump's "plan" isn't so much a plan to build infrastructure as it is a plan to allow the infrastructure we have to crumble.

WASHINGTON — President Trump will lay out a vision this coming week for sharply curtailing the federal government’s funding of the nation’s infrastructure and calling upon states, cities and corporations to shoulder most of the cost of rebuilding roads, bridges, railways and waterways. [...]

But the actual details of the initiative are unsettled, and a more intricate blueprint is still weeks or even months from completion.

What the president will offer instead over the coming days, his advisers said, are the contours of a plan.

The "contours of a plan" are exactly what Trump has offered on healthcare and taxes and, as we've seen, efforts to tackle those issues have not exactly proceeded as planned. Thankfully.

It feels awkward to root for failure, but it is what it is.

In any event, I strongly believe Trump's infrastructure "plan" will be dead on arrival because the truth is many states with Republican delegations in Congress depend on federal money. Allowing states to keep more of their tax dollars and build their own infrastructure may sound good in theory to some people (not me) but the problem is some states are net welfare states that receive more in federal spending than they pay in taxes.

A large, economically prosperous state like New York, California, or Texas may be able to reorganize their budgets and shoulder the burden of covering the cost of every infrastructure project, but poor states along the gulf coast and bible belt will never be able to do that. They simply don't have that kind of money.

And aside from the potential financial conflicts and shortcomings, there are also numerous legal conflicts that can arise when infrastructure projects cross state lines or involve multiple jurisdictions. That's why the federal government handles it. Congress and the federal government have the legal authority to cross multiple jurisdiction which would certainly be required to, you know, build Trump's fantasy border wall.

Does Trump even understand that? Not a chance in hell.

This "plan," if you wish to call it that, may sound very familiar because it's actually an old GOP plan promoted by the likes of Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz during the Obama years. The words I've written today may also sound familiar for the same reason: we've covered this before.

The Ted Cruz and Mike Lee plan went nowhere during the Obama administration, and not just because President Obama wouldn't sign it. It also went nowhere because there wasn't enough Republican support for it.

The awkward dynamic between fringe Republican ideas supported by the Freedom Caucus and Tea Party, and what is actually feasible, contributed to our current scenario where we've been operating under an almost static federal budget since 2015. The status quo is the only thing that can attract enough support to pass (so far) because blowing up the economy just doesn't sound as good when you're in control.

  • Aynwrong

    I’ve believed for a while that the GOP is for the most part led by people who don’t believe the majority of their professed so called philosophy of limited government. That’s it’s mostly functions as a fig leaf to justify the things they actually believe in (Lower taxes, never regulating the private sector and allowing the states to the rights of citizens as it best serves the first two) and as snake oil for the rubes. Of course what else does Trump know how to do but sling snake oil. Hopefully, Muselet and JM is right and the general incompetence of Trump & the GOP prevent any real damage occurring.

  • muselet

    There’s no infrastructure plan visible here. “Build your own damn’ roads!” doesn’t qualify as a plan.

    The overall plan, though, is crystal clear: to restore the Articles of Confederation.

    There’s no little irony in a bunch of self-proclaimed lovers of the Constitution doing this, but there is a funny side (if you have a somewhat cruel sense of humor): Righties have convinced themselves that it’s salt-of-the-earth, right-with-Jeebus red states that are subsidizing all those lazy, good-for-nothing blue states. They really and truly believe that if everytthing devolves to the states, California and New York will collapse into bankruptcy and anarchy, while the likes of Kansas and Oklahoma—freed at last of the evil socialisticalness imposed upon them by Ds—will prosper (won’t happen).

    I wonder if anyone in the administration understands that the country’s properity depends on reliable ground (and air: Donald Trump desperately wants to privatize air traffic control) transportation.

    I wonder if anyone in the administration cares.

    –alopecia

    • Aynwrong

      “I wonder if anyone in the administration cares.”

      I doubt it. If there’s anyone in the GOP who is actually concerned with such things they’ll likely never rise to a level of power to do anything about it. The desire to engage in actual governance seems diametrically opposed to modern day conservatism.

    • They don’t get it and never will. We are a consumer based economy and the nation’s highways and railroads allow for the distribution of goods to those consumers. Without them our economy would grind to a halt. It’s as simple as that. But since they don’t “believe” in the fact that we are a consumer based society and don’t understand how it really works, they can’t even envision why his plan is a horrible idea. And once again it will hurt his base more than anyone else.

    • gescove

      In a mere 64 years, the Republican party has gone from Dwight Eisenhower to Donald Trump, from proposing and building the interstate highway system to saying “meh”.

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