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Around the Horn

Senate Democrats to Unveil $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

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Democrats offer a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan

 

Daring Mr. Trump to make good on his grand infrastructure promises, Senate Democrats on Tuesday will unveil a trillion-dollar plan to rebuild the nation’s roads, railways, airports, waterways and sewer systems over 10 years.

 

 

“From our largest cities to our smallest towns, communities across the country are struggling to meet the challenges of aging infrastructure,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, will say. “Our urban and rural communities have their own unique set of infrastructure priorities, and this proposal would provide funding to address those needed upgrades that go beyond the traditional road and bridge repair.”

 

Republicans resisted President Barack Obama’s push for an infrastructure “surge” for eight years, arguing that the federal government couldn’t afford it and that state and local governments should shoulder more responsibility for improvements. But Mr. Trump has taken up the Democratic cause.

 

“We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation,” he vowed in his Inaugural Address.

 

The plan dedicates $180 billion to rail and bus systems, $65 billion to ports, airports and waterways, $110 billion for water and sewer systems, $100 billion for energy infrastructure, and $20 billion for public and tribal lands.

 

“We’re asking President Trump to work with us to make it a reality,” Mr. Schumer will say.

 

link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/us/politics/donald-trump-administration.html?_r=0

 

Hopefully, this thread will remain more civil than the last one...

Edited by Around the Horn
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I think concessions will have to be made but it will get done.  Trump will work to make it work and get prices in line.  We have to cut in other places like welfare though because we're spending ourselves into oblivion, and Obama with all of his "good deeds" didn't do much better in getting spending under control.  The Democrats will also have to be ready for him to require that these monies be used to buy American and hire American.  As a taxpayer, I don't want to see this money used to buy Chinese steel for example.  This money should be reinvested back into America to buy American made products and hire American workers.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Where is the money to fund this infrastructure plan coming from?

Out of said welfare cuts I hope.

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Apparently, the Feds have been authorized to increase the debt, so maybe that's how they'll get the money.

 

As for the points VG8 raises about buy American, which is a good idea in theory, my only worry is that the effort to do so could lead to a lack of experience on these types of projects (this is a big deal when it comes to civil engineers) and world best practices get ignored, kinda like the "not created here" syndrome that many people allege the MTA has, but on a national scale, leading to projects that become boondoggles.

 

I unequivocally agree that this should be built by American workers but I do think, at the very least during the planning process these projects could benefit from an outside perspective, particularly when it comes to the engineering process and cost effectiveness.

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Apparently, the Feds have been authorized to increase the debt, so maybe that's how they'll get the money.

 

As for the points VG8 raises about buy American, which is a good idea in theory, my only worry is that the effort to do so could lead to a lack of experience on these types of projects (this is a big deal when it comes to civil engineers) and world best practices get ignored, kinda like the "not created here" syndrome that many people allege the MTA has, but on a national scale, leading to projects that become boondoggles.

 

I unequivocally agree that this should be built by American workers but I do think, at the very least during the planning process these projects could benefit from an outside perspective, particularly when it comes to the engineering process and cost effectiveness.

It won't be a theory because Trump will emphasize "Buy American" and "Hire American".  He's a long-time protectionist like myself and has been extremely outspoken about how we need to be innovative using American workers, not outsiders and I agree. It's one reason why we have young Americans graduating college that are shying away from fields that we need to be in.  We can't continue to look outward for things to keep our country at the top.  The Chinese sure as hell aren't looking to America, so why should we be looking elsewhere?

 

He's already pulled out of TPP. I'm just itching for him to take action against NAFTA.  He's already scheduled to meet with the Canadian and Mexican leaders to discuss renegotiating it so it is more inline with what America needs.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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It won't be a theory because Trump will emphasize "Buy American" and "Hire American".  He's a long-time protectionist like myself and has been extremely outspoken about how we need to be innovative using American workers, not outsiders and I agree. It's one reason why we have young Americans graduating college that are shying away from fields that we need to be in.  We can't continue to look outward for things to keep our country at the top.  The Chinese sure as hell aren't looking to America, so why should we be looking elsewhere?

I agree with that in principle, however in Europe and Asia they somehow manage to build similar projects on time and at or under budget. I think at the very least picking the brains of these engineers and architects and maybe using some of these innovative technologies and construction methods from other countries would be beneficial to our bottom line.

 

For example, Alstom of France has a special patented track laying machine, that they've used in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It's been proven to cut "fitting" time by up to 33%. That's time savings and money savings right there...

 

And, now that I'm thinking about it, you could also bring in these successful architects and engineers to work with and mentor our younger architects and engineers on these projects. They get valuable experience working on the project and from learning from the best in their fields, which they can then apply to their careers. I'd consider that a win-win.

Edited by Around the Horn

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I agree with that in principle, however in Europe and Asia they somehow manage to build similar projects on time and at or under budget. I think at the very least picking the brains of these engineers and architects and maybe using some of these innovative technologies and construction methods from other countries would be beneficial to our bottom line.

 

For example, Alstom of France has a special patented track laying machine, that they've used in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It's been proven to cut "fitting" time by up to 33%. That's time savings and money savings right there...

 

And, now that I'm thinking about it, you could also bring in these successful architects and engineers to work with and mentor our younger architects and engineers on these projects. They get valuable experience working on the project and from learning from the best in their fields, which they can then apply to their careers. I'd consider that a win-win.

 

I agree. I also think it is important to highlight the difference between bringing in foreign consultants/advisors and buying foreign raw materials. Buying raw materials doesn't help our economy, but bringing in foreign consultants can be helpful as they may end up staying in the US to take a job here, pay taxes, etc. 

Edited by QM1to6Ave

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The question for me remains where are they going to get the money and the timing of the release by the Democrats. 

The question of financing is crucial as the debt crisis is quite real and just postponing action just delays the inevitable when the choices will be far worse for all of us. 

This comes across to me as an attempt to get ahead in terms of the news before the president has had an opportunity to present his proposals. Looking at where it came from and who is pushing it, I have no doubt that it was designed for that purpose only which was to provide more camera and microphone exposure which he loves (Schumer).

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Meh. Until I see some shovels in the ground and significant work accomplished, I'm not getting all that worked up. I don't really care whether it was Senate democrats, some advocacy group or Trump himself; we've done this song and dance before with very little to show for it. It's easy to throw together a potential list of projects or draw lines on a map for new lines, routes and other what have yous. It's another entirely to actually see these ideas come to fruition. We'll have to see how much political pressure will actually be behind these ideas.

 

Where is the money to fund this infrastructure plan coming from?

The same place most government projects get their money from: deficit spending.

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I agree with that in principle, however in Europe and Asia they somehow manage to build similar projects on time and at or under budget. I think at the very least picking the brains of these engineers and architects and maybe using some of these innovative technologies and construction methods from other countries would be beneficial to our bottom line.

 

For example, Alstom of France has a special patented track laying machine, that they've used in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It's been proven to cut "fitting" time by up to 33%. That's time savings and money savings right there...

 

And, now that I'm thinking about it, you could also bring in these successful architects and engineers to work with and mentor our younger architects and engineers on these projects. They get valuable experience working on the project and from learning from the best in their fields, which they can then apply to their careers. I'd consider that a win-win.

I'm currently part of a few on-going projects here in the city, and in each one of them, I believe the design firm has been foreign.  We're spending hundreds of millions of dollars in some cases, and we're paying firms based in Scandinavia (in Copenhagen Denmark to be exact) to oversee the project.  I guess the good news is that at least the engineering firms are based here in NYC or the tri-state area.  

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It won't be a theory because Trump will emphasize "Buy American" and "Hire American".  He's a long-time protectionist like myself and has been extremely outspoken about how we need to be innovative using American workers, not outsiders and I agree. It's one reason why we have young Americans graduating college that are shying away from fields that we need to be in.  We can't continue to look outward for things to keep our country at the top.  The Chinese sure as hell aren't looking to America, so why should we be looking elsewhere?

 

He's already pulled out of TPP. I'm just itching for him to take action against NAFTA.  He's already scheduled to meet with the Canadian and Mexican leaders to discuss renegotiating it so it is more inline with what America needs.

And this may be where some who are scared of what Trump is going to do might just back off.

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I think concessions will have to be made but it will get done.  Trump will work to make it work and get prices in line.  We have to cut in other places like welfare though because we're spending ourselves into oblivion, and Obama with all of his "good deeds" didn't do much better in getting spending under control.  

 

I get the idea you don't read the news and don't remember what candidate you voted for. Name a single more costly proposal by any president in recent memory than Trump's across the board tax cuts on the wealthy he has declared he will implement. But keep blaming Obama for a made-up problem. Misinformed. "Sad!"

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I get the idea you don't read the news and don't remember what candidate you voted for. Name a single more costly proposal by any president in recent memory than Trump's across the board tax cuts on the wealthy he has declared he will implement. But keep blaming Obama for a made-up problem. Misinformed. "Sad!"

Money will have to be spent to keep our country safe.  That's what it is.  I'm all for more money spent on security and cuts to welfare.  We have to find ways to spend but spend wisely, and I think Trump has it right.  Obama ran up the deficit with little to show for it.  Under Obama, handouts increased considerably while his stimulus packages didn't really work.  If we're going to get things turned around here and get wages where they should be, we'll have to spend on infrastructure (and spend lots of money), but if the spending creates good paying jobs, (not low-paying service jobs like Obama created), and doesn't outsource goods (i.e. Chinese steel) well it's an investment in America and in Americans, and I don't see what American wouldn't think that is good.  The Democrats want to spend TONS in infrastructure too, and I agree.  We need it, but we need to ensure that the materials sourced are American, that the workers are American (not illegals) and that the money stays here in America for America, otherwise we'll continue the race to the bottom.

 

We also need a comprehensive immigration plan where the people coming here to work are legal.   We have a broken system that has needs to be fixed.  It has been a mess far too long, and that's why we're seeing it in every industry.  When I worked in the construction industry, it was the same thing. Skilled American workers couldn't compete for certain infrastructure/construction projects because you had illegals doing them at a fraction of the cost.  That has to stop, otherwise we'll have no skilled jobs for Americans, and we need our young people going into these jobs... Electricians, carpenters, etc.  We need those folks.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Debt financing is a way of saying that YOU AND I who are not in the "big effing club" will be the ones paying for it.

 

Just like the MTA, the federal government's borrowing causes it to spend billions of dollars every year in debt service costs (interest on the debt). These debts are largely paid to foreign governments, and the federal reserve (which is a private bank whose shares are held by the largest banks on Wall Street).

 

As my signature shows, I too believe in buying American. I also don't like the use of high tech for high tech sake, as I've alluded to in other threads, not only because it is often ill-tailored for the specific purpose it's being used for, but also because high tech often sources parts that are only available in other countries. Many of the semiconductors etc. that are used in modern electronics cannot be sourced in the United States. By mindlessly following the herd, often while not knowing exactly why, we are sending bucketloads of money out of the country ever year.

Infrastructure spending sounds wonderful, but this bill reeks of nothing more than Schumer trying to look good and make Trump and the Republicans look bad. If these people spent half as much time and money as they do on politics, on actual POLICY, we might actually get somewhere.

 

Military spending is out of control, debt service cost is out of control, and fraud and abuse run rampant. Correcting these things would be a far better use of our resources than borrowing more money we don't have so we can rob workers of their PAID FOR social security benefits down the line, or raise taxes, or generate more fees, fines, and penalties to raise revenue from hardworking ordinary Americans...is a completely untenable situation.

 

You want to fix America? I give you this:

-Reduce corporate taxes to maximum 15%

-Raise income taxes on high earners by creating additional tax brackets for singles at 750K, 1M, 1.25M, 1.5M, 1.75M, 2M, 2.5M, 5M, 7.5M, and 10M. Double those amounts for married. Index all amounts to inflation. Everyone else sees their taxes slightly reduced or stay the same.

-Eliminate the payroll tax. Employers should not pay a tax to hire Americans.

-Eliminate the ability for corporations to deduct wages paid in foreign currency or to foreign nationals from their taxable income.

-Eliminate all forms of executive compensation other than company stock or restricted stock (which has a value on the date it is awarded). No more stock options.

-Corporations cannot deduct compensation packages for golden parachutes from their taxes.

-Corporations cannot deduct bonuses from their taxable income.

-Overturn Citizens United. Corporations are legal entities, not people, and if speech is "free" it can't be equated with money. Bring back all campaign contribution limits and eliminate super PACs.

-Term limits for all US congressmen and women.

-Bring back Glass-Stegal provision to separate commercial and investment banking. Stock market crashes should not affect the availability of credit, and this will force banks to lend more responsibly. It allows investment banks to play as risky or as safe as they want, but they are not "too big to fail" or so systemically important to the economy that you can't let an investment bank fail now that it's not tied to credit anymore. Self preservation can be a powerful motivator.

-Single payer healthcare. Just do it already. Nearly everyone else in the developed world has.

-Pay back social security the money that was stolen from it under Reagan, etc.

 

Start with that, pay off the deficit some, and then go from there.

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Debt financing is a way of saying that YOU AND I who are not in the "big effing club" will be the ones paying for it.

 

Just like the MTA, the federal government's borrowing causes it to spend billions of dollars every year in debt service costs (interest on the debt). These debts are largely paid to foreign governments, and the federal reserve (which is a private bank whose shares are held by the largest banks on Wall Street).

 

As my signature shows, I too believe in buying American. I also don't like the use of high tech for high tech sake, as I've alluded to in other threads, not only because it is often ill-tailored for the specific purpose it's being used for, but also because high tech often sources parts that are only available in other countries. Many of the semiconductors etc. that are used in modern electronics cannot be sourced in the United States. By mindlessly following the herd, often while not knowing exactly why, we are sending bucketloads of money out of the country ever year.

Infrastructure spending sounds wonderful, but this bill reeks of nothing more than Schumer trying to look good and make Trump and the Republicans look bad. If these people spent half as much time and money as they do on politics, on actual POLICY, we might actually get somewhere.

 

Military spending is out of control, debt service cost is out of control, and fraud and abuse run rampant. Correcting these things would be a far better use of our resources than borrowing more money we don't have so we can rob workers of their PAID FOR social security benefits down the line, or raise taxes, or generate more fees, fines, and penalties to raise revenue from hardworking ordinary Americans...is a completely untenable situation.

 

You want to fix America? I give you this:

-Reduce corporate taxes to maximum 15%

-Raise income taxes on high earners by creating additional tax brackets for singles at 750K, 1M, 1.25M, 1.5M, 1.75M, 2M, 2.5M, 5M, 7.5M, and 10M. Double those amounts for married. Index all amounts to inflation. Everyone else sees their taxes slightly reduced or stay the same.

-Eliminate the payroll tax. Employers should not pay a tax to hire Americans.

-Eliminate the ability for corporations to deduct wages paid in foreign currency or to foreign nationals from their taxable income.

-Eliminate all forms of executive compensation other than company stock or restricted stock (which has a value on the date it is awarded). No more stock options.

-Corporations cannot deduct compensation packages for golden parachutes from their taxes.

-Corporations cannot deduct bonuses from their taxable income.

-Overturn Citizens United. Corporations are legal entities, not people, and if speech is "free" it can't be equated with money. Bring back all campaign contribution limits and eliminate super PACs.

-Term limits for all US congressmen and women.

-Bring back Glass-Stegal provision to separate commercial and investment banking. Stock market crashes should not affect the availability of credit, and this will force banks to lend more responsibly. It allows investment banks to play as risky or as safe as they want, but they are not "too big to fail" or so systemically important to the economy that you can't let an investment bank fail now that it's not tied to credit anymore. Self preservation can be a powerful motivator.

-Single payer healthcare. Just do it already. Nearly everyone else in the developed world has.

-Pay back social security the money that was stolen from it under Reagan, etc.

 

Start with that, pay off the deficit some, and then go from there.

Well that's one of my biggest pet peeves.  We shouldn't have to source from other countries.  That alone means monies have to go out of the door to other countries, whether we want them to or not.  

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Well that's one of my biggest pet peeves.  We shouldn't have to source from other countries.  That alone means monies have to go out of the door to other countries, whether we want them to or not.  

 

The problem with many electronics components is that many of them rely on materials that are only available in Russia/Asia.

 

We couldn't source those components from the good ol' US of A even if we wanted to. Kind of like we can't source bananas from Alaska.

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