Stupid Party

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

SK Ashby
Written by SK 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.