Hillary Clinton’s infrastructure plan asks, “what does infrastructure REALLY mean anyway?”
For years now the federal government kept creating short stop gaps to financing the Highway Trust Fund. It’s only recently that there have been talks over creating a five-year solution to funding the US’ expansive and intricate infrastructure system. It looks like 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton thinks more attention should be paid to it. Since she unveiled her infrastructure plan this week, we figured to do a 10-Point Expert on it. Because, you know, we’re cool like that.
Point 1: The US Infrastructure system is similar to the Wu-Tang Clan, neither are nothin’ to fuck wit! You would be hard pressed to find anyone in Congress – either Democrat of Republican – that doesn’t support a similar view towards infrastructure initiatives.
Point 2: While the Highway Trust Fund – the appropriation used for the building of interstate roads and bridges – has been funded regularly over the past few years, there hasn’t been a long-term solution in place. Hillary Clinton wants to change that with her infrastructure plan.
Point 3: Clinton proposes that the US increase infrastructure spending by $500 billion of which $275 billion would come from the federal government in the form of tax reforms. She backs-up the infrastructure spending increase by her broadening the definition of what we consider to be the US infrastructure system (more on that in a bit).
Point 4: Clinton’s infrastructure increase would be split-up into three groups: $250 billion in direct funding for infrastructure projects, $25 billion in seed money for an infrastructure bank, and $225 billion to private entities in hopes of it being invested in future infrastructure projects through said infrastructure bank.
Point 5: The idea of an infrastructure bank that Clinton talks about in her proposal is not new. While the specifics of her infrastructure bank remains vague in her plan, in the past, the bank was essentially created to attract investors to long-term projects that traditionally might not be. The main purpose of the infrastructure bank is to bring down cost by counteracting federal rules that benefit unionized labor. It isn’t hard to see some pro-union Democrats having a problem with this measure.
Point 6: While Clinton has said she supports the proposed five-year infrastructure plan that is currently being hashed out in Congress, her infrastructure plan would drastically increase the amount of money it puts into these projects and expand the definition of what “infrastructure projects” really are.
Point 7: Traditionally the US looks at the infrastructure system as roads and highways. Clinton would like to expand that definition. Through her plan, Clinton would include “infrastructure” to also include public transportation like mass transit, seaports, and most importantly airports.
Point 8: In some cases, her definition of “infrastructure” would also include public works like the electrical grid to broadband Internet lines to natural gas pipelines, which would definitely be a stretch for many in Congress.
Point 9: Clinton is presenting her infrastructure plan in the guise of an economic stimulus initiative. One of her main bullet points is that her plan would create a number of “middle-wage” jobs that doesn’t require a college degree. While presenting her infrastructure plan as an economic stimulus initiative is absolutely Trojan Horsing it so more people will back it, to be fair, her claim of new infrastructure work creating new jobs isn’t entirely baseless.
Point 10: Even though money has never been the problem with infrastructure programs, expanding what “infrastructure” means is an interesting argument that Clinton is making with her plan. While the broader definition would help some much needed areas – like the US electrical grid that is in desperate need of modernization – you could also see fiscal conservatives balking at the idea due to the increase in federal spending. With this plan, there is a possibility of reforming how we think of infrastructure (a very good thing) or turning it into another partisan battlefield for hardliners (a very, VERY bad thing).
(Photo Credit: WuTang-corp.com, Google Images)