Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Scam alert: Trump’s $1 trillion ‘infrastructure plan’ is a giveaway to the rich

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In the Guardian Robert Reich talks about this next step in the looting of America:

At a roundtable discussion with state transportation officials on Friday, Donald Trump said America’s ageing roads, bridges, railways, and water systems were being “scoffed at and laughed” at. He pledged that they “will once again be the envy of the world”.

This seems to be a core theme for Trump: America’s greatness depends on others envying us rather than scoffing and laughing at us.

He said much the same thing last week when he announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. “At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us, as a country? We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more. And they won’t be. They won’t be.”

To be sure, America is in dire need of vast investments in infrastructure. The country suffers from overflowing sewage drains, crumbling bridges, rusting railroad tracks, outworn roads, and public transportation systems rivaling those of third-world nations.

The American Society of Civil Engineers, giving America’s overall infrastructure a grade of D-plus, says we would need to spend $3.6tn by 2020 to bring it up to par.

The problem isn’t that we’re being laughed at. It’s that we’re spending hours in traffic jams, disrupted flights, and slow-moving trains. And we’re sacrificing billions in lost productivity, avoidable public health problems, and increased carbon emissions.

But what Donald Trump is proposing won’t help. It’s nothing but a huge and unnecessary tax giveaway to the rich.

His “$1tn infrastructure plan”, unveiled last week, doesn’t amount to $1tn of new federal investment in infrastructure. It would commit $200bn of federal dollars over ten years, combined with about $800bn of assorted tax breaks to get developers to build things instead of the federal government doing it.

And it’s hardly a plan. It’s not much more than a page of talking points.

Worse, its underlying principle is deeply flawed. It boils down to a giant public subsidy to developers and investors, who would receive generous tax credits in return for taking on the job.

Which means the rest of us would have to pay higher taxes or get fewer services in order to make up for the taxes the developers and investors would no longer pay.

For example (in one version of the plan I’ve come across), for every dollar developers put into a project, they’d actually pay only 18 cents – after tax credits – and taxpayers would contribute the other 82 cents through their tax dollars.

No one should be surprised at this scheme. It’s what Trump knows best. After all, he was a developer who made billions, often off sweeteners such as generous tax credits and other subsidies.

The public would also pay a second time. The developers would own the roads and bridges and other pieces of infrastructure they finance. They’d then charge members of the public tolls and fees to use them.

In place of public roads and bridges, we’d have private roads and bridges. Think of America turning into giant, horizontal-like Trump Tower wherever you looked.

These tolls and fees won’t be cheap. They’d have to be set high in order to satisfy the profit margins demanded by the developers and the investors who back them.

Worst of all, we’d get the wrong kind of infrastructure. Projects that will be most attractive to developers and investors are those whose tolls and fees bring in the biggest bucks – giant mega-projects like major new throughways and new bridges.

Developers and investors won’t be interested in the thousands of smaller bridges, airports, pipes, and water treatment facilities across the country that are most in need of repair. . .

Continue reading.

This is corruption, pure and simple: using public office for private gain, since I’m sure the Trump organization will be first in line to take all that taxpayer money to build things that will provide them a revenue stream through tolls.

The US is going to hell in a handbasket.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 June 2017 at 8:57 am

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