‘Infrastructure Week’ — For Real This Time!

April 4, 2021

Anyone who does any driving — Before Times and the COVID pandemic, of course — can see our roadways, bridges and assorted, related structures are shot-to-shit and have been in crappy-dangerous condition for a long time.
In fact, you have to go back 65 years to the last activity with our transportation/electrical grid complex and the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highway Act, or simply the Eisenhower Interstate System.
Way-past time for an upgrade.

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden unveiled a $2 trillion infrastructure package, one of the biggest proposals in nearly a generation and it looks good for what’s needed:

  • Put $621 billion into transportation infrastructure such as bridges, roads, public transit, ports, airports and electric vehicle development.
  • Direct $400 billion to care for elderly and disabled Americans.
  • Inject more than $300 billion into improving drinking-water infrastructure, expanding broadband access and upgrading electric grids.
  • Put more than $300 billion into building and retrofitting affordable housing, along with constructing and upgrading schools.
  • Invest $580 billion in American manufacturing, research and development and job training efforts.

And,of course, there’s Republican asshole-idiots:

Some explanation on ‘infrastructure’ via Mother Jones this morning:

According to dictionary.com, there are three definitions of “infrastructure,” which is a noun. There’s “the basic, underlying framework or features of a system or organization.” There’s “the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area, as transportation and communication systems, power plants, and schools.” And there’s “the military installations of a country.”

To help explain the concept, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg made the rounds on the Sunday political shows.
“There’s a lot more than roads and bridges that are part of infrastructure,” he told George Stephanopoulos, who had asked him about the widely repeated Republican talking point that “only about 5 percent” of President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure proposal “goes for traditional roads and bridges.”

And Buttigieg on NBC:

“Infrastructure is the foundation that makes it possible for Americans to thrive. And what we know is that foundation has been crumbling.” Buttigieg said.

“We’re still coasting on infrastructure choices that were made in the 1950,” he said.
“Now’s our chance to make infrastructure choices for the future that are going to serve us well in the 2030s and onto the middle of the century when we will be judged for whether we meet this moment here in the 2020s.”

“America will be much more economically competitive, we’ll be stronger in terms of leading the world because of the research and development investments that are here, and we will be on track to avoid climate disaster because of the provisions for things like electric vehicles,” he said.

“Those electric vehicles that more and more people around the world are driving will be increasingly made in America by union workers,” Buttigieg said.
“This is what you get for planning for the long term.”

Republicans really have no alternative plan, or any kind of proposal for any type ‘infrastructure’ operation, though, the T-Rump made such a shit-bag move all the time during his horror years, constantly harping on a some ‘infrastructure’ plans forthcoming, which was never even close to coming.
As Buttigieg said, the US has been coasting on the Eisenhower years for decades — our system is shot.

An even more detail look at Biden’s infrastructure proposal from an op/ed by Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post, also this morning:

Since President Biden unveiled his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, he and his advisers have been making the case that this “once in a generation” bill will be “transformational.”
They have embraced the size of the plan, calling it “bold.” But what are Americans really going to get for that kind of money? Rather than put out its own analysis, the White House touted two studies: one from Moody’s Analytics and the other from Georgetown University.

The Moody’s study reports: “The plan’s proposed spending on infrastructure is large but spread over the next decade and paid for in significant part with higher taxes on corporations. Despite the higher corporate taxes and the larger government deficits, the plan provides a meaningful boost to the nation’s long-term economic growth.”

In the short term, according to the report, traditional infrastructure spending has a “multiplier” effect of 1.5. In other words, every dollar invested in infrastructure corresponds with $1.50 increase in the gross domestic product.
Overall, Moody’s projects, the plan would translates to a 3.8-percent increase in GDP by 2024, compared with just a 2.2 percent increase if the plan fails to become law.
Unemployment is also projected to decrease to 3.5-percent by the end of 2024. (Rather than adding 11.4 million jobs under current trajectories, Moody’s predicts the plan would result in 13.5 million jobs added.)
Over the next decade, the plan would result in 18.9 million jobs added, compared to 16.3 million without it.

Although Rubin notes some adjustable problems with the plan, she notes the end-result will be political: ‘Democrats will have plenty of data at their disposal. The test will be whether they can marshal the facts to align themselves with working people and cast Republicans’ as fuddy-duddies holding back progress and lapdogs of big corporations.

Pretty right on.
And, too, Bernie Sanders also proposed a ‘human infrastructure‘ need — per The Hill:

When pressed by host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” if initiatives that are not traditionally considered infrastructure should be included in the bill, including plans to address student debt, Sanders said it “depends on what you call infrastructure,” adding that there is a “crisis in human infrastructure.”

“Roads and bridges and tunnels are infrastructure. But I think many of us see a crisis in human infrastructure, when a working class family can’t find good quality affordable child care, that’s human infrastructure,” Sanders said.

Sanders went on to name his priorities including Medicare, dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses.

“I think now is the time to begin addressing our physical infrastructure and our human infrastructure, I want to see that happen as soon as possible,” Sanders added.

When pressed by Tapper if all Democratic senators will support Biden’s proposal, Sanders said that while there are differences in opinion in the caucus, he thinks the bill will pass with full Democratic support.

“If your question is do I think we’re going to come together to do it, yes I do.”

Again, Bernie, right on…

(Illustration: ‘Art Critic’ by Norman Rockwell, found here)

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