Remember that one? At the end of March, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (a.k.a. Mrs. Mitch McConnell), assured us that the Trump administration would be unveiling its $1 Trillion dollar infrastructure plan in 2017.
No details, though.
Welp, the Trump team has come up with its proposed budget, and guess what? There are $200 Billion in infrastructure cuts in it. Huh?
Yeah, it’s shocking. Or it would be if you’re still capable of being shocked by anything these idiots do. Given Trump’s limited attention span and minimal grasp of public policy, I think we can assume the budget reflects Steve Bannon’s wish list as much as anything else.
This short video clip is kind of funny I think. Trump actually seems to be reading about his priorities for the first time when explaining them to some governors in February. He seems genuinely surprised by what’s written down for him. “Can you imagine that”, he marvels when reading about our $20 trillion debt.
In this budget, there are deep cuts for Medicaid and anti-poverty efforts, huge cuts for science and medical research, the complete elimination of 66 programs, a historic reduction in federal employees, a huge increase in military spending, and so on.
Larry Summers, former Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and top economic adviser to President Obama, says the whole thing is built on an egregious accounting error.
Anyway, about that infrastructure program. Turns out the plan is for states and municipalities to sell off their “assets” – you know, bridges, airports, stuff like that – to “unlock” their value. Trump (or someone who has his ear) wants to spend $200 billion over 10 years to “incentivize” private, state and local spending on infrastructure. They sell their assets to private investors and the government pays them a bonus for doing it! Chao explains it this way: “You take the proceeds from the airport, from the sale of a government asset, and put it into financing infrastructure”.
Get it? Easy peasy.
They’ve figured out that privatizing public property turns out to create a better world. Sell the airports to the Russians. The ports to the Chinese. The roads to the Kochs. What could go wrong?