Trump Doesn’t Give a Dam

His infrastructure “plan” is an obvious scam. But why didn’t he offer something legit?


Comments: 237

  1. The whole Republican party doesn't give a dam and a damn about anything or anyone who isn't in line to profit from public property and funds. That's long been what they're after and now that the oligarchy is in control, that is what they're doing in full view of the public and under cover of media controversies, scandals, and the many breaking news of nothing burgers we are treated to on TV, Twitter, Facebook, Google, and on the radio.

    While Trump makes proposals that won't meet with congressional approval in the way of matching legislation, his administration has been undoing a lot on the QT. While he proposes a budget that will go nowhere, with an eye to abolishing 22 agencies (those that do the most good for the needy), he undoes rules that make it possible for those agencies to be effective. Congress will likely send him bills that don't quite eradicate those agencies, but do much to syphon off funding. Not the same effect, but the same effective result.

    This administration is reverse osmosis government, by some of the people, for some of the people and against the public. It's a dam shame Schumer made a budget deal with them. He shouldn't have

    The rich always resented the fact that they have to contribute anything to those whom they don't deem their equals: us. Now, they're getting theirs. Tant pis pour nous.

    ===
    What Trump does while we aren't looking
    https://www.rimaregas.com/2018/01/07/politicos-running-list-of-what-trum...

  2. Steven,

    Alabama doesn't have to be a one-off, but will because Democrats are unwilling to make the kinds of changes that will get Democrats out of their homes and into the voting booth.

    Lesson number one from Alabama is that even in the reddest of states, an engaged voting population can overcome gerrymandering. Give Mississippi progressive candidates with strong party backing and funding and watch them match Alabama.

    Thinking along the lines that it has to take a Roy Moore to get people out to vote is defeatism and only serves to keep the establishment centrists in power.

  3. Exactly. And the man that won, he exhibits signs of being antisocial too, of being susceptible to the corruption and self serving agenda that is dominating our legislature, the executive branch, and our judicial system. At the least, he is another appeaser.
    40 years of appeasing.
    Or being grouchy and yelling at each other.
    Ugh.
    While this country's infrastructure is taken apart, piece by piece.
    For decades.
    The antisocial agenda of these low affect people who have taken over my party is icky. Yeah. My party. Technically, I am a Republican.
    I mean, Jimmy Carter is the best role model of a man, and I absolutely voted for Hillary Clinton, because, I think she is a Republican too. And before you come in here, into my words, and apply your meanings, let me stop you, and let you know, that if you want to be a critical thinker, then you let me define my terms.
    The speaker defines their terms.
    If you think that you get to define my terms, you are being co-dependent, and if you are bothered by what I just said, then you are being immature - unprofessional, and antisocial yourself, no matter what party you say you belong to.
    Because the reason I see my self as a Republican - and do not see my value system reflected in my party, is because despite whatever meaning you put on what Republican means, what the word actually means is the best of us serving the rest of us.
    Throw out the Money Changers. Oprah for President, or Witherspoon, or Leslie Jones. As a Republican.
    You hear me?

  4. You're delusional if you think Trump truly cares about the military, coal miners and lower taxes for everyone. If he really cared about the military he would not have gotten five deferments. If he really cared about coal miners he would not be cutting funding for education or unemployment. The coal industry is never going to be what it used to be. As for lower taxes for everyone, the tax cuts for average Americans will expire in ten years and only the very rich and corporations received most of the benefits anyway.

    The Democrats care about education, healthcare, fair immigration. After all, you probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for immigration unless you're a Native American.

  5. Trump's infrastructure plan summarized: "I have a bridge to sell you..."

  6. You mean a bridge to nowhere.

  7. Kirk,
    And then there are the tolls and fees that the investors will be collecting from the public that uses the roads, etc. So we'll all be paying forever and the 1% will be getting paid three times.

  8. MB,

    Four, if you add in state and local taxes that are sure to go up.

  9. If it had been up to the rich during FDRs administration we wouldn't have Social Security. If it had been up to the rich in the 1950s we wouldn't have the Interstate system. If it had been left to the rich we wouldn't have the CDC, NIH, NASA, or anything resembling public works or welfare in America. Since Trump took office he has not been the type of disruptive politician we can use. He has been self-centered, disconnected, destructive, and capricious. The GOP has indulged him in order to accomplish their main goals: stripping the average American of any ability to exercise his/her rights unless a gun is involved.

    Trump is merely the front man for the GOP. They don't want a healthy vibrant economy where everyone that wants a job can find one. They don't want quality work done. Both the GOP and Trump care nothing for ethics or morals. They care about power and money and those who have it or can donate it to them.

    It's perfectly fine with this administration and Congress if a few of us fall off the bridge, are killed in train or plane accidents, die from lack of access to medical care. Marley's chain will seem light in comparison to the ones awaiting them when they die. Perhaps their chains will be heavy enough to keep them from ever coming back to haunt us. The mess they're creating will be bad enough.

  10. Indeed. I currently think all Republicans root for Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol", and cannot fathom why he is considered the villain.

  11. What a perfect comment! Thank you Hen3ry!

  12. My goodness - Marley's chains. That's a pretty sharp dig!

  13. As usual, your continuing assault on this (worst ever) president is on the button, but I think you are barking up the wrong tree. You say that “Trump is afraid to try anything substantive.” Gee whiz, no kidding? The point is you need to convince a few Republicans in the House or Senate (just one would be progress) to show some courage and stand up against this barrage of garbage from Trump and his toady followers. But I don’t know that is possible because none of them seem to give a dam, or a bridge, or a road, or anything else that does not line the pockets of a donor.

  14. You can't convince a hyena to become a vegan.

  15. That’s why they want to privatize!

  16. But to give the president credit, he's delivering on a campaign promise. He promised a scam, you got a scam.

  17. Exactly, if you elect a clown, expect a circus!

  18. "Contracts handed out...without a hint of cronyism." Sarcasm. Really funny sarcasm. Thank you for that.

  19. The Republican Party barely even tries to hide their duplicitousness and contempt for everyone but the donor class. They might as well brag about it in a campaign bumper sticker.

    "G.O.P. 2018: It’s not a plan, it’s a scam."

    How much worse does it have to get? Vote!

  20. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) says the US needs to invest $4.59 trillion by 2025 in the nation's infrastructure, according to its Infrastructure Report Card.

    The ASCE gave the America's infrastructure an overall grade of D+.

    The ASCE says that the current low level of government investment makes trillions in GDP losses and job losses inevitable due to America's 3rd world infrastructure.

    America's infrastructure grades:

    Aviation: D
    Bridges: C+
    Dams: D
    Drinking Water: D
    Energy: D+
    Hazardous Waste: D+
    Inland Waterways: D
    Levees: D
    Parks and Recreation: D+
    Ports: C+
    Rail: B
    Roads: D
    Schools: D
    Solid Waste: C+
    Transit: D-
    Wastewater: D+

    https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/

    America is a D student when it comes to infrastructure, and as a reminder for our dumb, deplorable Donald, infrastructure costs real dollars, not fake dollars.

    In Donald's defense, he's probably confused, because he's used to stiffing contractors and people - not paying them - so he underestimated the real cost by a trillion or two....an honest crook's mistake.

    Of course just over a month ago, we had an extra $1.5 trillion to spend on infrastructure, BUT there was an urgent emergency renovation of the giant levee systems in 50,000 of the country's millionaire/billionaire bank accounts that required immediate attention and a rapid response.

    Infrastructure represents the common good: Donald Trump and Greed Over People will be having none of that.

    Three cheers for Dumb D+onald.

  21. That would be 3 BRONX cheers for Trump, I assume.

  22. Here's the problem: Trump supporters think that all government spending is overwhelmingly waste. Therefore, they think $200 billion is enough.

  23. The GOP, never a party to let an opportunity for waste go to waste, has decided that Americans are not worth anything unless their last names are Koch, Scaife, Walton, or have Mega GOP donor next to them. Welcome to the new and updated version of "Brave New World" where those of us with less than a couple of million in assets are relegated to the compost heap of America. We do not get to pass go, collect $200, or even save $200. That's what the GOP and Trump are doing to America.

    Their A's do not equal excellent. They equal Awful.

  24. The self-proclaimed billionaire developer doesn't know how to build anything! How ironic! How moronic! Not just that he would make such an empty proposal but that his supporters did not and probably still do not recognize what an empty promise he made.

  25. Trump has not actually built anything for some time, he only licenses his brand name, he cannot get the financing due to his several bankruptcies, he is not really a builder/engineer/architect yet he pretends to be one and is incapable of dealing w/ a project of this scale.....totally incompetent and also corrupt. The projects will not be Publicly owned and all the privatization only means more expenses for the public while making profits for his 1% donors.....this is no way to run a country unless you are trying to run it into the ground which the GOP is doing, they said they want to destroy government by shrinking it to the size of a rat and drowning it in a bathtub...which is exactly what they re doing.

  26. You forget: he built a skating rink. A SKATING RINK! Crumbling infrastructure needs fixing everywhere in this country. It's beyond ridiculous that building a skating rink is supposed to showcase his skills in rebuilding the entire US. It should be humiliating to him to mention it at all. A skating rink. Did he also build a ferris wheel?

  27. He never did build anything. He never had a successful business. If only this newspaper had reported fairly on his non-success. If only people in the hinterlands had turned off the TV and just read about his record. If only - could have saved the USA and their lives from lots of future problem years. Its bad being conned, people and countries lose everything.

  28. A quick note; GMAC had outstanding profits in December. The upper echelon would rather shovel their money into car payments than see it go to fix potholes. And the (uncontrolled) dealerships will make whatever they can off repairs.

  29. The rich use those nice shiny new fastrak toll roads that are cropping up everywhere, helipads in traffic jammed cities...

  30. The DJT administration is a 21st century update of "Through the Looking Glass" onto which we can map the original characters 1:1 (almost, except for the ongoing "losses") onto the current players. Review the book (or Disney's movie) to make your choices. Have fun, maybe laugh again.

  31. Ok, so Fat Donnie is the Red Queen (now turned Orange but just as ugly, unpredictable, and overweening), either Jared the non-genius is the dithering White Rabbit (similar teeth) or it could be Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, who runs in circles trying to please his unpredictable boss. Both are certainly very white! Ivanka is an equally pretty but much less intelligent and well-read Alice, and Bannon certainly has to be the Mad Hatter just on the strength of the gin blossom nose and the unhinged rhetoric. The befuddled Dormouse, now retired permanently to his teapot, was Preibus. For the Cheshire Cat (who caught the canary with his Gorsuch maneuver) I reluctantly (because I like cats) cast Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan is the hapless Bill the Lizard (great likeness to Tenniel's drawing) who ended up shot out the chimney. As a wacky motormouth, I suppose Kellyanne could be the March Hare, and Sarah Hucksterbee and her deputy Raj could fill the roles of the Walrus and the Carpenter with their kind regard for the baby oysters whom they ended up eating. Who am I forgetting...yes, the Dodo. Well, with his extinction on the horizon, his erroneous but bombastic pronouncements, and his very similar profile, I nominate John Kelly.

    Thanks njNelson, that WAS fun!

  32. I've covered lots of federal budgets. Standard GOP technique: Announce a new spending initiative under a shiny new title. Offset with cuts in existing programs. Finding the offsets was a standard part of my brief. It wasn't even hard.

  33. His Unhinged Unraveling Unfitness has again proven why a serial bankruptee, with his Wrecking Crew Cabinet, has no business making economic policy, tax policy, or development policy for this nation.

    Putin's Poodle POTUS heads a party which is full of Vultures who got rich by gutting Corporate America and Main Street - they don't want to do anything else but liquidate, and the serial bankruptee in the Oval Office won't tell them no.

    He just wants to 'make a deal'.

    Infrastructure has always been done by government in this country, because all Americans deserve the same level of services, and private industry is only interested in providing services where they can make a profit, with a contest to provide services where the most profit can be expected.

    In the past, governments strived to ensure public infrastructure benefited all citizens.

    Guess that's passe :(

  34. @Greg - Depends; what are you calling 'dead weight loss' ?

  35. At least Obama was honest.

  36. I am talking about the elimination of monopoly power in managing the assets.

  37. This is so infuriating and probably 40% of the nation is oblivious to it. Trump just pushed through a 1.5 trillion dollar tax cut. That's just the estimate. These things always create greater deficits than predicted. Take a look at Kansas an the Bush tax cuts for example. About 85% of the benefits of the cut are directed to the the top 1%. So far, the pay raises resulting from the tax cut amount to only 3% of the benefit. The rest will flow to the shareholders. But give it some time. It may grow to 5% and the corporations will only keep 95%. Oh joy!

    Now this is the infuriating part. Deficit spending that results from tax cuts is still a deficit as is a deficit from spending. If we spent 1.5 trillion dollars on infrastructure, the entire nation will use, enjoy and benefit from it. Small and large businesses will both profit from it. And, the government looks good for doing it.

    If all of that money goes to tax cuts for the rich, only the rich benefit and that is exactly what the Republicans want. They threw the common people $10 to $15 a week and called it the greatest benefit ever. Furthermore, nothing gets rebuilt. The taxpayer has to foot the bill and still has crumbling infrastructure.

    Mark my words. When a Democrat next occupies the White House and tries to rebuild our nation, the Republicans will scream as loud as they can, Tax and spend Democrats!

  38. Bruce Rozenblit writes, "So far, the pay raises resulting from the tax cut amount to only 3% of the benefit. The rest will flow to the shareholders."

    So...a substantial number of Americans own stock. They might be forgiven the belief that they will see benefits in their 401k's. They would, however, be just as foolish as anyone in lower and middle class who think their small tax cuts will be a significant benefit. Just as the wealthy derive the greatest direct benefit from the tax cuts, the wealthy will also derive the greatest benefit from corporate profits...because they won't allow the corporate tax cuts to flow down evenly to little share holders. Oh no. They have ways to ensuring the vast majority of profits redounds to the big shareholders and corporate officers. You can bet on that.

    As for Trump's infrastructure plan...yes, it's a scam. It's clearly Trump's attempt to honor a campaign pledge in a way that will benefit HIM the most. And when politicians see through it...he will, of course, blame them for their unpatriotic insistence on sticking to facts.

  39. Of course. Unless they can bankrupt our country before that happens. Then they will use their policy of starving the beast, and cut out all spending "to pay for the deficit" except the military.

  40. In addition to what you say....pushing more and more money upward to fewer and fewer people will have a huge effect on consumer spending in the future.It presently accounts for 74% of GDP.Very wealthy people can only consume so much.And now they're talking about the need to reign in entitlement spending!

  41. Amid Trump's economic schemes, trade, taxes, and infrastructure are a trilogy of his worst. But without some homework, you might think the three are his best! That wide contradiction has to do with economic literacy. Nations represent the public's economic interests, those things held in joint tenancy: public lands, roads, resources, fishing stock, air and water quality, safety, safety nets.

    Nations with growing economies organize these onto planning formats that accelerate and maximize economic growth. Building infrastructure on a repair basis or willy-nilly is like a child playing with blocks. Scattered, the blocks randomness abrogates the future.

    Contrast Trump's swiss cheese plan (lot of holes!) to China's ambitious One Belt, One Road project, a trillion dollar project engaging 65 countries on 3 continents (with 65 percent of global GDP!), building rails/modernizing harbors to promote efficiency, lower costs, greater security and expanding markets. The US has less than a 3 percent stake and zero good will.

    The lesson: fix the old, but tie it to the new! Tie infrastructure best practices to the four pillars of successful development: work/housing, business clusters, research/training, efficiency that supports financing and innovation. Planned with these factors, economic benefits multiply!

    In the mountains of WVA, a five county zone produces a billion dollars of chemical exports; 15k factory jobs pay 77K+. That didn't happen without planning--and good roads!

  42. More and more, America's cities and corporations are relying on models tying infrastructure to the pillars of successful development. Conducent, a Fortune 500 business services company spun off from Xerox a year ago, has its corporate offices within the sightlines of a smaller airport in northern New Jersey, the convenience more important than the trappings of Manhattan.

    Even in the past, this system has yielded spectacular results: New York's subway system, now old and needing repair, was the bones that contributed to the business clustering that made New York the global capital of so many industries! Its efficiency in moving workers around a mega-city was unparalleled, and widely copied.

    The Research Triangle in NC ties infrastructure to business and community planning; its new master plan will create a 100,000 new jobs!

    In South Carolina, a transportation manufacturing cluster led by Boeing, Volvo, Daimler-Benz, Borsch is developing and new infrastructure is supporting the expansion: a new bridge that makes shipping safer, channel deepening for larger ships, diversifying port sites to distribute truck traffic, new rail and road interchanges and widening to accommodate higher volumes of goods and people, training programs tied to well located roads, new schools, healthcare sites, ample water and other infrastructure.

    Trump's plan lacks a focus! It has no central mission. Encourages none. Omits best practices. Its flash numbers cover that it is hit and miss!

  43. That 5-county plan is indeed working out well. Still, WV is no model for development. The older chemical industry, like the coal and lumber ones, has left large parts of the state with toxic land, water, and air. There slip-sliding sloping lands denuded 3 or 4 times through uncontrolled lumbering. The creeks some hills slide into are multi-colored with old coal mine leakage and chemical plant discharges. Black lung, once almost eliminated, is several times as bad as it was a decade or 2 ago. The universities are modernized, but some schools avoid climate change and evolution.
    WV has beauty and has had some excellent leaders in government and industry. FDR and WWII industrialized parts of WV, and 5 Counties planned recent develpments. But WV's needs are huge and it can't grow on fRump's cheers for "beautiful Clean Coal: - for there is no such animal. WV can't grow on DT's imaginary middle class tax increases. It needs federal help, decent taxes on corporations, billionaires, and large estates. Only then can restoration in all its counties proceed. It needs anti-Trumpians to insist and resist..

  44. To all, thanks!
    Dr. Bob, agreed. I cite West Virginia for the stark--and stunning--contrast between the two approaches to development. You accurately describe the destruction and waste of the old wealth and development models: ruin the land, poison the environment, strip the landscape, poison the air and kill the workers. The nostalgia for its paychecks cloud the reality of the deaths and debilitating injuries and disabilities that resulted, along with the loss of jobs!

    The new chemical zone stands in clear contrast: improved environmental practices, a cluster of the top five leading chemical companies (several are foreign), using infrastructure for markets and exports, as well as supplies; new think tanks and university programs, tax breaks required to be invested in research show the benefits of planning and quality infrastructure to serve the long term future.

    The political economy, esp. under Trump, only offers negative narratives and ignores causes and solutions--jobs are not the pivot point of development; good organization is, along with demand. Jobs are not "won," but created. Trump ignores the details of the process!

  45. Driving in Dallas or Houston, any normal people would be asking if there wasn't a better way. My dad, brother and brother-in-law's business ships building materials across Dallas/Ft. Worth and smaller towns in north Texas daily, and as bad as things remain, highway construction projects started over a decade ago have finally been completed, so driving conditions are vastly better than they were before.

    My elder brother-in-law saw several accidents on the way to pick us up at the airport, and he acknowledged the improved roads but never mentioned the need for more work. He's always seen the bright side of everything, which partly explains how he got to be CEO, but buying prime real estate dirt cheap from his uncles didn't hurt, nor was inheriting land near a golf course and municipal airport a major setback to my younger brother-in-law. They're doing a great job of managing their businesses, so forgive me if I haven't made them sound very smart, but they and a few other friends and relatives have disowned me over my “lefty” views.

    Maybe they think the private sector could build everything faster and better, but surely they can see how slowly things are moving for Trans Central Railway, a group of private investors funding a high speed rail project between Houston and Dallas, or that NASA put a man on the moon nearly a half decade ago. They are some very nice guys, but I may need to call someone else the next time we need a ride.

  46. Ooops, I meant to say that NASA put a man on the moon over a half century ago. How time flies !!

  47. Err, make that almost a half century ago, and time may fly under a progressive government, but life just grinds on slowly and painfully with conservatives in charge, and what a long slow grind the past 4 decades have been.

  48. Yes. Yes. And yes! At the end of the day, Trump doesn't even know what infrastructure is! He of the private jets and limos. How could he reasonably care about a tunnel from Jersey to NYC or a pock-marked Interstate in Illinois or a bridge in Pittsburgh that is substandard? He cares only about himself and his family. If they don't need it, it doesn't matter.....

  49. Do you really think he cares about his family?

  50. CLYDE

    THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES CARES ABOUT ALL AMERICANS, WHICH WOULD INCLUDE YOU, CLYDE.

  51. Who needs bridges, tunnels, roads and trains when you get around by lear jet and helicopter?

  52. Brilliant, and well put.

    I'd add that in my opinion, privatization of infrastructure (highways, bridges, etc.) is really the GOP/Republicans giving away - or selling, for a song - very valuable federal property that we all own, to the GOP's campaign contributors. In other words, Republicans are financing their reelections (and, enriching themselves) by giving away public property.

  53. Trump's infrastructure plan is a scam. The GOP tax bill that passed is a scam. The Republicans had hoped to showcase the tax bill for election advantage, The Times reported recently.

    The Democrats need to attack these scams relentlessly. They are not campaign promises kept; they are campaign promises cynically twisted to favor the uber rich.

    But the Dems have been kept off balance by the idiot/savant, who divined early on that immigration would be their Achilles heal. He has baited them, and snared them into a prolonged and fruitless debate about the Dreamers and about immigration reform. That plays to his strength and their weakness. The longer he keeps immigration on the front burner, the better for him and the worse it is for the Democrats.

    Trump has made an offer on the Dreamers that a majority of Americans, including many Democrats, support. The Democrats desperately need to cut a deal with Trump, so they can move on to issues where they have an advantage. They have bigger fish to fry. They want to take back the House in November. Is anything more important right now?

    I recently called my Senators and Member of Congress, and made these points. I hope you, Dear Reader, will do the same.

  54. Hear, hear. I live in California, where we have many DACA recipients with whom I sympathize, but we won't be able to help them or anyone else if we don't start turning Congress blue, and we won't do that by making "illegal" immigrants our number one cause celebre. Narrowing the unconscionable wealth gap, providing health care and education for all, and expanding Social Security are things that every American and every immigrant can benefit from.

  55. That's exactly, right. The Democrats need to get this right. Cut a deal with Donald on the Dreamers, protect as many as possible, give him a budgetary win on his asinine wall, which can be delayed and then pretty much can be made to go nowhere if the Dems win in November. Make the message about the economy only, to get the people who might otherwise not vote Democratic. If the Congress can be secured, I have little doubt that Trump would also sign just about anything the Dems would hand him if his name were put on buildings or airports or whatever infrastructure project. This is a man who is very easily played so why aren't the Dems playing him? Leaving someone as clueless as he is in charge is just as unethical as cutting deals with him.

  56. Didn't Trump renege the last time he made an offer on immigration? Should be taken seriously now?

  57. "True, we’re no longer a depressed economy that needs public investment to put the unemployed back to work; massive infrastructure spending would have been an even better idea five years ago."

    Workforce participation is low, long term unemployment and underemployment is high (Labor Dept U-6), and many are still in inferior jobs like college students flipping burgers or doing minimum wage sales. So while the U-3 short term unemployment rate is down, the deeper measures are not.

    This means that there is considerable capacity to be mobilized in our economy. Apart from the very real impact on individuals, the national economy has potential to generate GDP and taxes on a much larger scale. That is still quite depressed too. This is much like the under utilization we had as the Great Depression moved from recovery to mobilization for war. We can do it without the war.

  58. Yes, but do these underemployed people have the skills or the interest to work on these types of reconstruction projects, and to potentially relocate to where the labor is needed? I'm skeptical about that.

  59. You are so right about under-utilized human resources in the US, and I would sure like to see Professor Krugman talking a lot more about under-employment and mobilizing those resources than the “things could be a lot worse” talk that we've been hearing from him recently. He obviously knows the truth in what you have written here, and I hope to hear him expanding on your way of thinking soon.

  60. The distinction is the crowding out of private investment that would not have happened if we had done it 5 years ago when pressed into the interest rate zero lower bound.

  61. "Part of the answer is that in practice Trump always defers to Republican orthodoxy"

    There really are no Trump people. He is an outsider. He had to get whatever people he could find from other places.

    Bernie had suggested that made him ripe for takeover. The Republicans did, and Democrats didn't, going all The Russians Are Coming instead. Opportunity missed. The blank slate was handed over to Ryan and McConnell.

  62. Ummm...you really think Democrats had an opening at some point to coopt the dotard? When exactly would that have been?

  63. ...or...the Republican worked with the Republicans

  64. John -- When Bernie suggested it, right after the election, while Trump was still in shocked surprise at being elected, and had no useful people and no programs around him. Lost.

  65. I knew this was coming, after all a person had to know, but I am still shaken by the mix of arrogance and meanness in this set of budget proposals. The question will be how much can the Democrats change these proposals, but I do not know and so I worry.

  66. I favor cutting defense spending, instituting universal health care, raising taxes on the wealthy, closing corporate loopholes, ending carried interest, hiring more IRS investigators to catch tax cheats, and reversing the recently enacted corporate tax cuts. All of these things would increase federal government revenues, enable us to re-build our nation's infrastructure and, perhaps, put us on a path to making America great again. But supporting these actions makes me a socialist, according to those with the superior value system.

  67. They called FDR a Commie too.
    But it is he who saved US capitalism.
    The alternative is to let things go the way the GOP
    wants, and to see the nation explode in violent
    upheaval.

  68. Well, Larry, if that's socialism, let's have more of it! Doing what desperately needs to be done is my idea of heroism. And, given the staggering narcissism and perfidy of the current administration, we need a whole lot of heroism if we're going to survive.

  69. Yes, and yes. All of this COULD happen, if Democrats are in power to redraw the congressional districts in a lot of state come 2020.

  70. Trump's comments today were a diversion from the intent of a "Fundamentalist-Conservative" controlled Congress. The infrastructure plan has no intent other than to allow Trump to say he fulfilled another campaign promise.

    The comments that are central to the already planned, increase in deficit and debt spending, combined with new spending proposed for infrastructure, are those of Paul Ryan. The additional deficit and debt spending allows him as soon as possible to officially propose reducing shrinking our social safety nets.

    Mr. Ryan recently stated that "How you tackle the debt and the deficit,... is by "entitlement reform." Not just "entitlement" but "giant entitlement," i.e., Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Todays press conference was about reminding Trump supporters that we're going to spend to the heavens on our "already-strongest-on-earth-by-more-than-our-adversaries-combined" military.

    The infrastructure proposals were typical Trump lies, which is fine with his supporters. And the proposed additional cost provides fuel to call Trumpists to the Shout Radio, FOX News barricades to demand cuts to everything else.

    Tax restructuring, infrastructure spending, and entitlement reform are all about getting rid of The New Deal, instituting an Ayn Rand society, and shifting debt to the people.

  71. The question I am asking myself nowadays is: how can a system that elect incompetents to lead expect good decisions? Are there any instrumentes to correct the mishap? Every new proposal that may appear to have some content ends being a scam that, fortunately until now, does not advance to far. However, a budget will have to be approved and probably the only thing we will end up seeing will be the "Wall!"

  72. America’s wealthy class are “post-infrastructure “, meaning that they don’t need the governments infrastructure projects for their extensive private property holdings. They can manage their own infrastructure needs just fine thank you. Just reduce their taxes periodically, that extra money will substitute just fine as profit, as though it was actually the product of hard work! Instead let’s just figure out how to transfer public infrastructure into private hands, that way the wealthy class will recover some of their lost wealth paid out in taxes years ago!

  73. Atlanta GA offers a look back at Atlanta, GA's 20 year agreement with United Water (subsid of French company). The experience was so awful they had to cancel the contract in less than 5 years. Privatization has shown no cost savings and evidence of profit taking at the expense of the water - a sure thing with the Trump administration. Private ownership of not only water, but roads, jails, and other municipal services, amounts to a monopoly, a "get rich" scheme for the super rich.

    Sounds like this govt doesn't want badly needed infrastructure improvements - just more profit for the already insanely rich. Anybody want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?

  74. Perhaps you've forgotten that Trump introduced an infrastucture program in the lobby of Trump Tower a few days after the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. He had his aides roll out a flow chart about 12 feet long detailing the infrastructure program. Then he went on his tirade about "good people on both sides." We have not heard a peep from him about infrastructure until today. I did not see a similar flow chart today. Maybe in all those months one of his aides told him that such a flow chart played a huge role in dooming Hillary's health care proposal in the early 1990s. I am sure Trump did not remember it himself. He was "friends" with the Clintons at the time.

  75. Trump came to fix the problem of how much he pays in taxes.
    That has been accomplished. Job done.

  76. ERIC SEKYERE

    SILLY STATEMENT REFERRING TO THE PRESIDENT, A BILLIONAIRE.

  77. Re: "SILLY STATEMENT REFERRING TO THE PRESIDENT, A BILLIONAIRE."

    Without his tax returns we really don't know if he is a billionaire or not. His tax cut, regardless, was self serving.

  78. Privatize the infrastructure, so instead of receiving basic services at reasonable cost, we can pay the maximum price the market will bear.

  79. Given our Fake President's obvious coziness with, and admiration for, Putin and his Russian cronies, was this "federal divestiture of assets" plan at all inspired by the enormous historical transfer of Soviet state wealth to Vladimir's oligarchs, his most loyal followers? In addition to the disproportionate recent tax benefits provided to this Administration's most favored groups, the millionaires, billionaires, and corporations, it would hardly be surprising if in addition to providing those benefits Trump would also be eager to provide these deep-pocketed supporters with some marvelous investment opportunities for their dollars. Assume nothing.

  80. It is sad that when we can’t get infrastructure right. This has been ignored for years by many administrations. Your comment about the fear of Democrats that he might actually champion a popular program is telling regarding how things work in DC. Whoever is not in control hopes the other party fails.

  81. When the party in power is trying as hard as possible to destroy anything not owned by the top 0.1% can you blame them?

  82. This same edition of the NYT highlights the number of US localities with Safe Drinking Water Act violations in need of remedy. Similar needs have been identified with respect to climate-smart engineering design as our dams, roads and bridges are updated. With an EPA that actually was about the environment and its protection, the opportunities for federal leadership of an infrastructure program would be obvious. But not with Trump. And not with Pruitt.

  83. Remember that Trump is a real estate investor, which means he simply loves debt. Remember, too, his history in real estate, which is a tendency to walk away from failing projects, leaving others to hold the bag. And don't forget how much he (and the Trump Organization - think of the project in Louisiana) tries to take advantage of tax loopholes not available to others. So it's largely smoke and mirrors, as is this bogus infrastructure plan. What amazes me is that he can bamboozle so many people.

  84. On my 2013 visit to China we took 5 internal flights as part of our Viking tour. Every airport was modern and efficient. The flights, although tourist class all provided meals. The American travel experience is ok but not as good as some other countries. I understand the finest is the Middle East airlines like Emirates. The Donald is using taxpayer money to provide all of his over the top travel these days. How about if we fix things so he has to get private funding for his fun and games instead of using taxpayer dollars. if the inaugural extravaganza can be privately funded why can't we make it so that taxpayers only pay for actual government functions without frills?

  85. In Texas, reluctant Republican elected state leadership is slowing warming up to the idea of using some of the state budget surplus ("Rainy Day Fund") to expand the flood control infrastructure that would be needed to avert another Harvey disaster. This is because of public pressure that won't fade away from hundreds of thousands of Houston area residents who will never forget what they endured and what they lost during and after the storm. However, while American voters hate potholes, I suspect few are driving to work every day preoccupied with the condition of the bridges they are crossing or the water and sewer lines beneath them. Infrastructure can be like a hidden heart condition, only in disastrous failure does it become an urgent issue, which typically allows politicians to focus more on topics small but self-serving. So I'm hard pressed to imagine measurable political damage to Trump if he is all talk and no action on this one.

  86. I'm no economist, but it doesn't take one to think logically about the economic situation of our country and what we should be doing.

    Over the last 9 years I've thinking about what needed to be done, and, more importantly, what were the specific set of circumstances that existed that we could take advantage of.

    The huge elephant in the room was the situation of low interest rates (near zero). That meant we could have taken advantage of massive borrowing and spending on infrastructure that would have meant huge employment and expansion of the economy, with little cost.

    We've never had that opportunity in my lifetime, and it seemed an obvious win-win for the country.

    But, no. Republicans threw cold water on Obama's plans to have a meaningful stimulus package, and instead, started railing about deficits for the first time since Reagan began creating them.

    Opportunity lost, I thought. But, Dr. Krugman says we can still do it. It's not too late.

    All it will take is Democrats being willing to put country over party, and not be like the never-Obama Republican movement. (Which I consider real treason, not sitting on their hands during a speech.) They would need to work with President Trump, perhaps even getting him to go against the mainstream Republicans he campaigned so hard against.

    So, can it happen? Maybe not. But, I honestly have more hope for that than for Republicans doing anything that is right.

  87. The "greatest infrastructure plan" ever!

    It's not even smoke and mirrors, it's a house of cards.

    Middle America, with it's sewage and drinking water systems going out should be grateful though. Can you imagine the damage he would do if he actually spent the money that's needed!? Probably less than 50% would actually reach the projects they claim to be designing while the rest would end up in the pockets of the cronies.

    Infrastructure should be designed for the new climate, not the desert of ideas that Trump lives in.

    China is building roads made with solar energy built in. Trump is lining his pockets. Even conservative Britain is doing more than we are under Trump.

  88. If Trump had really meant what he said and hired and worked with the best people to come up with real solutions to America's systemic problems, it might have very well been tolerable for most Americans to have a demagogue in the White House.

    Its actually quite heartening to learn that skilled Americans, those who can actually do their jobs and come up with creative solutions have no interest or inclination to work for this administration. And that is what will ultimately doom it: you can only go so far in flaring up division among people. At the end of the day, you need real solutions, which as Mr. Krugman shows so eloquently, is just not possible for this administration.

  89. The republicans wouldn't let President Obama work on infrastructure. Now, they'll give trump anything he wants -- no taxes for improving infrastructure -- tax cuts for not improving infrastructure. It makes NO sense.

  90. It's as if the whole country has been enrolled in Trump University. The tuition is high and the degree is hard knocks. Let's hope that we can get one foot out the door in 2018 and escape totally in 2020.

  91. Sanders will now convince trump base that he is paying for the infrastructure himself out of the goodness of his heart. And they'll believe it.

  92. jay Stephen

    SARAH SANDERS, THE PRESS SECRETARY, DEALS IN TRUTH. THE PRESIDENT'S BASE ARE NOT FOOLS. YOUR STATEMENT IS RIDICULOUS.

  93. Almost every trip on a road results in commerce in one way or another. What business does not require infrastructure to bring it power, raw materials, delivery of finished goods, or customers?

    The real question is why are Republicans opposed to infrastructure? And of course, why cannot Democrats frame the issue that should be like shooting ducks in a barrel?

  94. They are not opposed to infrastructure: just paying for it. And the rich can build their private roads and gated communities.

  95. Loved the way Trump praised Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker during this meeting, saying Walker has done a “fantastic job.”

    Interesting Walker was in the room. Walker’s been in office eight years.
    Wisconsin’s roads are exemplary of Walker’s ineptness of keeping them safe and updated. Embarrassing for us to have out of state tourists come here. They frequently comment about that tourist realization.

    Along with so many other “fantastic” things Walker has done.

    For example trying to take healthcare away from the disabled and seniors - Family Care; the feds halted that. Defunding public schools, but handing taxpayer paid vouchers to private religious churches/schools, right up Betsy DeVos’s alley, our no college degree in education Secretary of Education. Appointing a no college educated woman, Cathy Stepp, to head our Department of Natural Resources, very scientific! Waters in areas here are toxic due to no oversite of regulation of groundwater’s and mega farms. (Stepp is now at the EPA - what does that tell you about that organization)

    Walker’s cost the state many dollars with all the redistricting and voter ID issues that have gone to the courts, curbing fair and just elections, Now in Supreme Court.

    This could go on and on, but Donald’s idea of “fantastic” and love of Foxconn invading Wisconsin he mentioned, is far many of our idea of “fantastic”.

    We’re going to boot Walker out in November, no matter what Donald says.
    That will be fantastic!

  96. I hope we boot him, but we failed to recall him when we had the chance, so I take nothing for granted anymore. I am as shocked when this dropout moron got elected as with Trump, but I shouldn’t be because having lived here over 20 years now, I am still dismayed at the blatant racism on full display in this state. People will vote for a moron because they believe the moron will quit giving their hard-earned money to all those mythical welfare queens they all moved to the suburbs to escape. So now, I save $12 on my property tax and pay a $30 “wheel tax” when I register my car. The stupid, it burns!

  97. How about getting rid of Ryan while you're at it

  98. Dr Krugman ,
    I am a Canadian and this is what I see happening.
    I have been writing how the USA's future lies with Russia not with the Western democracies. I have been writing that Canadian values and the values of the GOP and Trump are not compatible.
    Many of us have been waiting for Trump and the GOP to announce that Canada is the existential enemy and today even our newspaper of record the Toronto Star felt free to say what so many of us have been saying and thinking since Reagan. We are the enemy. We are everything the GOP loathes we are a successful liberal democracy.
    Trumps remarks on trade with Canada are the lead in today's Toronto Star.
    https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/02/12/canada-does-not-treat-us-r...
    When Trump was elected president the unthinkable happened for me the USA became the enemy. With most of my family and friends American it is difficult to think of them as the enemy.
    Democracy is a fragile thing and seeing it happen in my lifetime in Canada has been wonderful. Watching it disappear in the USA is tragic.
    While we experiment with guaranteed annual income America seeks to further punish the 30% who will never master the modern world.
    87% percent of the USA economy happens in urban enclaves infrastructure means urban transit, air cargo, and rail. GOP infrastructure is 1950s and fixing it will not turn back the clock. America will have repaired infrastructure but it will still be obsolete.

  99. So, open your borders! (Well, at least make it easier for those of us who agree with you to defect even if we’re not rich or young.)

  100. My Canadian in-laws lean across the dinner table and ask me:
    "What are you doing down there??"

  101. Pundette,
    We are a country 36 million people. I am sure there are one hundred and fifty million Americans who would prefer a liberal democracy to a 19th century oligarchy. The is still a love of freedom and many ways of expressing that the current situation is untenable. During the second WW Danes wore the six pointed star. The pledge of allegiance no longer has any meaning and should not be recited, the anthem is a celebration of slavery. Even as a Canadian I cry when I hear America the Beautiful and God Bless America.
    It is obvious you cannot have one country for 300 million people where compromise is a synonym for treason. The expression "one nation under God indivisible" is a recipe for a disaster for our species.

  102. Like you said Paul...they can't dare have government work...so god forbid them getting behind anything that there would end of with "something to show for it". Tax cuts, that's the tickets, poof, no traces there.

  103. At no time has Trump presented a thoughtful reasoned initiative to the American people.The man operates by instinct.Off the cuff. His so-called infrastructure program is a farce as described by Krugman. Is anyone surprised? Trump lurches from crisis to crisis. Only three more years.Then fire him. At the ballot box.

  104. Please don't say "only three more years"! Say prison time for this (insert expletive of your choice).

  105. Why wait for 2020? Trump could be neutered in the 2018 election.

  106. And never have one man's instincts have been so bad as to imperil an entire modern nation. How people actually believed this cretin's shtick and voted accordingly is beyond comprehension.

  107. This is not tRumps agenda it is the ideology of the Libertarian followers of Ayn Rand, the privatization of all services possible.

    We do have a history of what happens when such an economic course is followed. As the years have gone by since the 1850s, cities counties and even states have had to finance necessary projects such as sewer systems, water systems, clean up rivers and polluted lands. They did so by issuing public debt. By 2005 a quarter of all public debt was locked up in public projects, roads, dams sewer systems, Then we began to see the proliferation of fees and higher property taxes.
    Fees for just about any state, county, or city services and permits, inspections, records. then in 2007 much of that income dried up, and those agencies what had invested in risky securities and derivatives were going broke, even rich counties like Orange County California went bankrupt.

    Those people who might be paying less income tax, will be paying more in those fees, than they save in taxes. The interest on the bonds the government has to sell to get the money for its projects has to be paid, Those interest payments mean even less money for needed government services, so the money will come from the residents.

    This is the free market society, no regulations to keep businesses and politicians from swindling you. If you are nice to them, the rich may give you a piece of cake.

  108. Infrastructure is the last thing congressional Republicans want to do. The only reason they're doing it now is to provide a fig leaf for even more savage cuts in federal social welfare programs.

    Conveniently, there's no other money to spare after massive tax cuts heavily tilted towards the wealthy. They're already fudging their numbers with unrealistic GDP growth and federal revenue projections. (The best estimates are the Obama recovery trend line continues with a few tenths percent increase. And the treasury may see 10-40 cents back per extra dollar foregone in additional deficit spending.)

    So with crocodile tears in their eyes, Republicans will bemoan shredding Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid because the country is 'broke.' They really have no other choice but to be the fiscal adults in the room.

    Well, if you want to see where the wealth is, go to the gated communities, the yacht clubs, the exclusive resorts, and the private airports where the top 0.1% live and play. They'll definitely be breaking new ground there. And they'll only need to give up a small fraction of their latest tax cuts to buy yet more political and media influence.

    My guess is they won't want to give back much money for infrastructure they don't directly benefit from. Not without two pounds of flesh for every ounce they forego.

    That, as they say, is no way to run a railroad, let alone a country. But it is how you run a banana republic with an entrenched and entitled aristocracy.

  109. The plan as Grover Norquist has put it is to starve the beast and drown it in the bathtub or something similar. Then you can say quite correctly we do not have the money so we have to cut Medicaid, Medical etc. Anything for the public good for these idealogues is to be shunned like it is the plague.

  110. Brooks' expectation -- and that of others -- that Trump would be interested in common infrastructure is the source of the current despair. Don't despair anyone. Once you realize that the Trump plan is to make as many corporate and oligarch friends as possible while in government by giving away as much public property as possible and by indebting the public in order to pay for his sychophantic largess to his handers, then the reasons for all the subsidiary activities his administration attempts become clear. It's always been about money, power and the influence to obtain, and it always will be. There is no Trump. There is only a water boy for the elite plutocrats. The media participates in this conspiracy to point to Trump as if he is the main thing. He's not. He's simply a foot soldier doing the bidding of Goldman Sachs, the military industrial complex and the cartel of corporate overlords, unleashed by Citizens United unlimited funding. But time is running out. The population, day by day, is realizing more and more that the swindle of the century is on.

    Infrastructure funding? Forget about it.

  111. We have Trumpy. We deserve what we voted for. It's no more complicated than that.

  112. Most of us voted for Hillary Clinton; a great majority of voters were against Trump, when you also consider third-party contenders. Trump won with a minority sculpted by the Electoral College, henceforward to be known as the Electoral Curse.

  113. Trump may not deliver any substantive plan for the nation's infrastructure, but he has delivered another sound bite for his Believers. Those are the only people he's talking to, and that's all he cares about. Trump believes if he delivers on his promises to Trumpites he will continue to win. The best part for him is that he doesn't actually have to deliver anything at all. He just has to say that his announcement is, in fact, the delivery. For Trumpites, his word is gospel and they will believe it. Will it be enough to continue to get republicans and eventually Trump re elected? The 2018 election will begin to tell that tale.

  114. Rolling expenses to states and municipalities is a hidden TAX HIKE!

    (it forces states to eventually raise their taxes and they don't have the luxury to quite as irresponsible as the federal government)

  115. Because of the restriction on deducting state and local taxes, states and cities will not have the funds to “partner” on infrastructure projects with the federal government because they can’t raise taxes. Instead private sector funding sources will be tapped like hedge funds which will bear little or no risk to see the projects to completion. The US will be sea to sea BIG DITCH.

  116. Thanks for making this point. With the criminal wealth transfer of middle class and lower class monies to the wealthy and corporations--the Republicans just passed--the states will have a lot less to work with.

  117. The idea of selling assets like National Airport (as a part of Trump’s infrastructure plan) is really hilarious, because all the representatives and senators fly out of National Airport to their home districts every Thursday and fly back to National every Sunday or Monday. (Yes, it’s true; Congresspersons are only part-time legislators.) There’s a world-wide record of what happens when public facilities are privatized; the new owners frequently loot the asset, run it into the ground, and then abandon what’s left. But even if National Airport isn’t abandoned, the Congresspersons will still face increased costs, decreased efficiency, and an environment that has all the charm and refinement of a rest stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

    And if you think National will be a disaster under private management, just think for a moment what would happen to Dulles under similar circumstances. Dulles is already a giant labyrinth that’s hard for travelers to negotiate; with even a little more disfunction, it will be absolutely unmanageable.

    Rough on the traveling public; but we can all get a good laugh, when Republican Congresspersons have to go all the way to Baltimore to get a flight out.

  118. Baltimore airport would suffer from the same situation as National And Dulles.

    I guess the senators will have to rely on privately chartered flights paid for by their Masters

  119. There may not be much appearance of planning in the harum-scarum Trump administration when it comes to its WH appointments, its security screening of WH staffers or its thoughtless remarks about women and race, but when it comes to money, Republicans sure do know what they're doing.

    Want a conspiracy theory? This one is being put into practice.

    The Citizens United decision handed over more political clout than they already had to the vastly wealthy, who now supply more than three quarters of the money spent in political campaigns.

    Next step. Give the monied class that already owns more than eighty percent of the nation's wealth even more money--and with that money more power--with a giant tax gift to that same overly privileged minority, a gift that also handily provides an excuse to take even more away from those who can least afford the loss. Gotta do something about that deficit, you know, regardless of who created it.

    And now the infrastructure plan which claims to rely for funding on local taxes ion already over-burdened cities, counties and states but really looks to enlist those who already have all the money with promises of a hefty return, including in some cases outright infrastructure ownership, on their investment.

    We have no choice. Gotta pay for an expanded military and gotta lower taxes on corporations and the ultra-rich, you know.

    The result? Ever increasing inequity and political imbalance.

    Is all that too wild a conspiracy to believe?

  120. The problems with infrastructure are directly related to a long term process of less funding when tax dollars among state and local budgets have been diverted to other areas such as increases for police and fire services. Meanwhile federal grants to states have decreased while some states rely on gas tax revenue receive less funding because of all things more efficient and economical automobiles. One would think that of all public services that infrastructure would be the most readily perceived fair tax, but with tax obligations increasing across the board to states for everything else, federal savings initiatives offer little help, while taxes and user fees from states and local government have continually increased since 1980's. The "real tax" for most people is something that is a mystery in today's world, which is a clever way of avoiding the "public" good.

  121. Trump came into the presidency by surprise to himself as well as the rest of us (maybe "shock" would be a better word) and he's still at square one, not having learned anything over the past year. He depends on the Republican congress to deliver ideas, tinkers with them, and throws in so many contradictions that the government keeps screeching to a halt. His real interests are his own fantasies (the Wall, the military parade), to show off his importance. Meanwhile he makes speeches about the importance of national security, when national insecurity is all he's delivering--at great peril to the country. Putin must be very pleased.

  122. There was a time when our country was capable of great infrastructure projects. The transcontinental railway system, Hoover dam, the highway system, and the expansion of high speed internet kept us at the forefront. We were able to move products, people, and ideas across our vast country and around the world. Our greatest strength has always been our innovation.

    For those who say the government can't do great things, let's look at what the WPA accomplished during the aftermath of the depression:

    39,370 schools were built, improved, or renovated

    We built 2,550 hospitals; 1,074 libraries; 2,700 firehouses; 15,100 auditoriums, gymnasiums, & recreational buildings; 1,050 airports; 500 water treatment plants; 12,800 playgrounds; 900 swimming pools; & 1,200 skating rinks

    1,000 tunnels were dug

    639,000 roads were surfaced

    1 million miles of sidewalks, curbs, street lighting, & drainage ditches were installed

    Since Reagan coined the attitude that the government is the problem we've forgotten what our country is capable of doing when the federal government partners with state & local governments. Private Enterprise is all well and good but they can't compete with the government for improving the function of our communities so that they work better for everyone and not just the wealthy.

    Trump & the GOP have put forward a weak plan because they profit from private enterprises rather than government works. Wouldn't it be nice if we started investing in our country again.

  123. And yet the guy Richard commenting right next to you sees none of that. That would be too “Democrat” as he would say.
    We build great things , they blow things up. I really hope our days of great leadership in the world are not over. We can’t even keep up with maintaining the infrastructure we have now.

  124. In this day and age Eisenhower would be considered a left-leaning moderate Democrat. Republicans have drifted so far right their crosses are starting to twist.

  125. All of the public investments you list are what helped make this country great for all except one, the railroads. The railroads were one of the best kleptocratic scams ever put on this nation in the post civil war era. Carnegie, for one, could not have made the money he did on steel without picking the pocket of the public first in railroads. The Guided Age was one kleptocratic scam after another. Banking, oil, beef and labor were all advanced by kleptocracy.

  126. Did Paul suppose that by electing undivided Republican federal government, and two-thirds of state governors and partisan state legislative chambers that are Republican, somehow we were going to be governed by Democratic assumptions?

    Of course we’re going to privatize where we can; and of course we’re going seed an infrastructure bill with federal monies, seeking to place responsibility for infrastructure maintenance where traditionally it has always focused – on states, counties and municipalities. And of course we’re going invite private enterprise to provide major funding, in return for benefits such as toll roads, bridges and tunnels. Of course we’re going to seek to unburden those states and constituent elements from largely unfunded federal mandates that over the years have DESTROYED their ability to invest in infrastructure as they once did. Paul needs to accept that Republicans are NOT the party that believes that the federal government must be the all-embracing solver of every imaginable problem.

    States have their own depts. of transportation to plan infrastructure projects that can be executed in part with federal funding, in part with their own funding and in part by private funding. For those states that want to place multi-year, hugely expensive environmental studies athwart any attempt to build something, they’re perfectly free to let their regulatory agencies run riot – and perhaps not see so much new development, as private money seeks fewer barriers.

  127. “Clearly”? Through what crystal ball are you peering? The only clear thing I see here is a determined effort to undermine any government function in order to prove that government does not work.

  128. Republicans already control the majority of state and local governments and already have broad authority to enter into public/private partnerships to improve infrastructure. At some point, even the most shrill defenders of the cult of conservative victimhood are going to have to accept that republicans bear some responsibility for failure to act.

  129. Richard, where once you had coherent points to make, your posts now are almost exclusively taunting variations of, "you lost, we won, you don't even get to complain" as Trump wrecks one institution after another.

    Do you think of yourself as a patriot?

  130. Trump will be long remembered as the president who proved beyond doubt that the notion of running the government like a business -- as George Bush Jr. promised before reality caught up with him -- is nonsense. Government can and should be run with common sense and a dedication to economies, but as a business? Nope. Business is business; it relies on gaining advantage; government is America's primary institution for realizing the things we cherish and creating the society celebrated in our national lore.

  131. I have long said there is a reason why we do not elect businessmen as President. It never ends well. Hoover, the quasi-businessman, Shrub, and now the ultimate degradation...Trump.

    No more business dweebs as President. The job is far too big for them. They are in way, way, over their heads.

  132. Predators will be predators. Simple as that.

  133. Wait a minute: couldn't a big beautiful wall be classified as infrastructure? How about if they build a road on top of it? Or maybe a monorail (they could get Homer Simpson to run it!).

  134. What is stopping Trump from making it one long giant hotel? It could be a tremendous attraction! It could include golf courses and amusement parks and be like Las Vegas, only huge. Think about it. It could like a demilitarized zone, where people who want jobs or vacations from either country could go. It would be interesting to see who goes for what. There could even be a university. And steaks. And clothing stores with Ivanka's stuff in it. And it could be paid for by Trump and his investors. I just don't understand why Trump thinks so small? Maybe it's because he is more the analytical and observant type, not so much with the creativity and forethought. Well, no worries, that's what people like me are for, for men like Trump to get great ideas. You are welcome.

  135. An extra fee will get you access to the back door and this entry into another country

  136. Given the repeated refrain that Citizens United is a core issue at the heart of of dis-balance in the system, why are the Democrats not aggressively pursuing a change in the law as a top priority? Corporations' designation as a legal person is a legal fiction, a good one, for raising and disbursing capital, but not for making public policy. Corporations are designed to serve shareholders and have a very limited long term view. In fact, they have no legal duty to serve their communities, other than to comply with laws that regulate their behavior. They are not designed to implement long term public policy. But everyone feeds at the same trough.

  137. Citizens United is not a law, it is a Supreme Court decision. The Democratic party cannot do anything directly about it. Long term they can win elections so a D President can appoint new justices that are confirmed by a D Senate. The justices may then rule differently in future campaign finance cases.

  138. Patrick you nailed it. Why doesn't anyone else see this? Why are we focusing on issues that won't be fixed until Citizens United is reversed. We are so blind.

  139. @Patrick: The best path to overturning Citizens United — a Supreme Court decision — would have been to appoint reasonable justices. President Obama was prevented from doing so by Mitch McConnell. The real question is, why did voters reward this outrage by voting in more Republicans?

  140. An example of this so-called plan can be seen in Puerto Rico, yes? Puerto Rico, left largely abandoned by the Trump Administration and where, even now, people are left without electricity and having to boil water. "The island’s power and water utilities require wholesale rebuilding to achieve resilience against the next big storm" (link below). As will also be true for Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Who will pay for these massive infrastructure projects before the next disaster strikes? On the Trump credit card, you're on your own.

    Puerto Rico Needs More Than a Bandage
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/opinion/puerto-rico-water-electricity...?

  141. Hey Paul,
    Weren’t you the guy who advocated a higher debt burden over the next handful of years? Isn’t Trump heeding this advice.

  142. Hey Greg, Mr. Krugman did not advocate a higher debt to give big tax cuts to the rich! So no, Trump is not heeding this advice - any advice, if it comes to it...

  143. I don’t think he was advocating debt via giving trillions to the Uber wealthy. So your rational is meaningless.

  144. Did you actually read the article? Trump is not heeding this advice, and the objection is not about the spending.

  145. So when do we stop the daily whining and start a concerted nationwide effort of the silent majority to bring this to an end?

  146. Well said, Krugman, but my two dogs eat much better breakfasts than this proposal. Sad, sad, so so sad.

  147. There is actually nothing puzzling why the nonplan.

    First Trump can't plan other than scheming to profit himself or his family. As to why he would not spend real money there is a simple answer too. No he is not worry about the deficit though he probably knows he will not have support from the GOP establishment to spend real public money even though he is "king of debt".

    On the subject of deficit. No the reason the GOP worried about deficit before is not because there was a Democrat in the WH but because there is a black man in the WH. They can't let a black man succeed, can they? So they obstruct, and obstruct, and obstruct. Remember McConnell said about the most important priority of the GOP: make sure Obama is a one term president.

  148. I seem to recall similar strategy against Clinton with the “Contract for America” scam.

  149. How do we get this message to the people who watch FOX 24/7? How do you get people who have no interest in hearing anything else to hear something else? The FOX crowd is selling Trump's message hook, line and big sinker to the sleepy watchers as what Trump said it was. The thing is, since Trump doesn't read, the people who come up with these ideas behind the scenes (and there are probably many) tell The Donald verbally what is in the material and give him the idea that this is great for "the base" and for him. He accepts it all, same same. Hook, line and stinker. They have done themselves so much harm by supporting this man and they have no (zero) clue how it will come back to hurt them in a few years. Distressing.

  150. You get the message to the Fox acolytes by voting in every election, in overwhelming numbers.

  151. Precisely. Trump wasn't created he emerged to fill a vacuum created by ignorance. Trump isn't the true enemy of democracy, ignorance is. He attacks the media, science and academia because the more people read, learn and know, the more dangerous they are. Every right-wing authoritarian in the history of mankind has attacked intellectuals and centres of learning. These people thrive in an environment of ignorance.

  152. I posted this on another budget related article, but I think the numbers speak for themselves:
    From a Forbes report last year:
    Nearly one in five Americans — 74 million people — rely on Medicaid to stay healthy and independent. Federal law guarantees Medicaid coverage to pregnant women, children, elderly and disabled people under certain income levels.
    And from the same report:
    Medicare and Social Security are not “entitlement” programs. They are earned benefit programs created for specific purposes.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/12/12/why-big-medicare-and-...

    And you know, of course, that the plan is for the Feds to cut funding to the states and let them manage Medicare individually. What could possibly go wrong?
    So, let me ask you, what sort of country as (presumably) wealthy and "religious" as the U.S. would choose military spending over funding worthwhile programs to help Americans?

  153. Hey Paul,
    You are an expert Keynesian economist and yet a lot of your predictions haven’t come true for example the break up of the Euro. And what about the necessary second dose of stimulus required in the latter half of the Obama admin? So what good would it have done Trump if he listened to this expert Nobel economist?

  154. Please show me your analysis of this situation and the reasons why you would come up with a different opinion: Krugman has been more right than he has been wrong, but I guess it is easy (although intellectually lazy) to use anecdotal arguments.

  155. Considering this president's worship of all things Putin one has to wonder what it is about the infrastructure plan that appeals to him. Skip past the details of trying to get someone else to pay for the proposed projects, something obviously based on Trump's long history of branding without paying. Look instead at how many could become inviolably indebted to him through his beneficent cronyism. Oh, wait, does that sound like Putin?

  156. As I see it, Trump and his comrades do not want to do anything that will improve America.

    Hence this scam of a proposal, that will not produce any benefit for the country.

    Their sole goal is to undermine as much of the American infrastructure: political, legal, diplomatic and physical, as quickly as they possibly can.

    Boss Putin is watching.

  157. Back in the day, did you ever try to rent a cheap old house that was in bad need of repair? I did.
    The landlord says;
    "I'll rent it to you cheap but if anything goes wrong you fix it. Don't bother me with your problems.
    If you want to paint, you buy the paint and you paint it.
    If the hot water heater goes out, you buy the hot water heater and you put it in. I'm going to eventually sell the house or bulldoze it because the land is more valuable than the house.
    Don't bother me with your problems."

    Our government today is that landlord and they have zero intentions of ever fixing any of the destruction they have wrought since Reagan. They don't have to.
    I tend to agree with Charles Blows' latest column "G.O.P. Visions of Tectonic Realignment"
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/11/opinion/trump-republican-realignment....

    "This is much bigger than Trump alone. This is the big game for all the marbles. Trump is simply a useful and temporary tool in this endeavor. This is why many of the most powerful conservatives in this country are betraying their supposed values, ignoring the moral conundrum and continuing to support Trump: He is a means to an end, a necessarily piece of the big picture. This is about a tectonic realignment."

    The GOP message is "Don't bother me with your problems"

  158. Thank you. Great comments.

  159. Trumpo’s climate denial cabal won’t allow any climate science into infrastructure planning:

    Roads won’t have the proper ratio of asphalt to deal with increasing temperatures over the decades of their expected useful life.

    Bridges and highways in coastal areas won’t be built with the required elevation to deal with rising tides and flooding inevitable in the oceans as the ice caps and glaciers melt in the Article and Antarctica.

    Public works will be built where flooding will predictably occur over the foreseeable future.

    This politically driven fact averse Ostrich like approach will end up costing the tax payers billions more than if the science supported to by 99.9% of the data were followed.

    I guess my grandchildren and great grandchildren yet unborn who will be footing the bill will have the consolation of telling the folks in Trumplandia now in charge of this folly “I told you so” as they look down on their graves.

  160. A very disheartening column.

    Well, elections have consequences. The last election also had terrible consequences, which we are enduring.

    Hillary Clinton's hubris perhaps got us Trump. But there's some chance that we may get a Democratic Congress next year. With that things may improve. Hope Democrats would play it safe.

  161. Stop blaming Hilary. The people who didn't vote and the people who voted for Trump got us Trump.

  162. Yes, any woman with the gall to suppose SHE could be president has hubris.

  163. And did YOU chant "Lock Her Up"?
    ...
    America has proven to favor "Liars, Cheats and Thieves" by a majority when they rejected Hillary and Al Gore...two of the "best and brightest" public managers this nation could have elected but instead - both times - chose GOP two-bit, double-shuffle floor riggers! Elections do have consequences.

  164. Would private purchasers of government assets receive benefits from the 200 billion?

  165. If only Debtor Donald and the Republicans hadn't handed $1.5 trillion to the already super-rich perhaps there might be some money for a true infrastructure plan. In fact, with even a modest tax increase on the 1%, there would be plenty of money for sweeping public works. Instead, even at $200 billion for this laughable sham plan, it's more irresponsible Republican debt.

    This type of sophistry reminds me of those late night TV commercials offering magical "university" courses on financial secrets.

  166. thank you...don't know why this hasn't been mentioned before...

  167. C’mon – Trump’s finally delivering on a campaign promise. This so-called ‘infrastructure plan’ is a tiny Federal match after a state had somehow come up with the lion's share. Trump campaigned that he could do infrastructure because he ‘knows how to build things.’ And he’s now delivering what he promised he knew how to do: building with other people’s money and sticking his own name on it.

  168. Here is a possibly worthy infrastructure project: retrofitting an old coal fired electrical generating station with carbon-sequestration technology. It would replace aging infrastructure, it would develop the technology that could save the steam coal industry, it would be good for the environment. And there is a private half of a public-private partnership ready to go, a consortium of coal and utility companies.

    Oops. That was the FutureGen 2 project, funded by the Obama "stimulus" infrastructure bill in 2009. Unfortunately the project didn't succeed, it folded six years later.

    But the ARRA was an overall success, funding a lot of projects on a lot of wish lists. And economists give it credit for a big chunk of the the long expansion.

    And somehow the Obama administration managed to find a long list of ready-to-go projects around the country, and figure out the funding, and get a bill together, and passed, in just a month. While 13 months after taking office and yapping often about infrastructure, the Trumpies emit a document that was put together by speechwriters and political operatives. Instead of planners and civil engineers.

  169. Privatization is another way of giving more power and resources to the already wealthy. In the first third of the 19th century, Spanish governments expropriated lands that the Church had accumulated over the centuries, with the purpose of creating a strong middle class and giving lands to common people. It goes without saying that the near totality of the lands went to the aristocracy and financially powerful groups. If this plan goes ahead, we can be sure that the same thing would happen here.

  170. Governments have a history of overpaying favored vendors. Trump has few real buddies or friends and a long history of stiffing his vendors. He would be the ideal president to do infrastructure. All he has to do is think of all the stuff he would build as his stuff, and stiff whoever builds it, and we get infrastructure at a reasonable price. We will just have the minor inconvenience that everything would be named after him.

  171. He certainly comes from the right place; recent Times coverage revealing that a mile of subway in the city costs as much as 7 times more than similar projects in Paris or London may provide a clue. Corruption underground, corruption on the surface....even corruption in the air (LGA)...that's NYC for you.

  172. Since Trump is apparently not going to raise the money to do an adequate infrastructure plan, it will simply be up to the states and cities to provide for themselves. NY can lead the way by sharing information on how it built and maintained its outstanding public subway system.

  173. Being from Maine, perhaps you're not the best spokesman for the latest condition and performance of New York's public subway system.

    However, I think NY's Governor Cuomo has done an excellent job rebuilding New York's crumbling bridges including the Kosciusko, the Tappen Zee, and the Goethels to New Jersey. All 3 are beauties and went up in what I thought was record time.

  174. There isn't going to be any "private sector money" put into infrastructure. The private sector is going to borrow the money from the same people that the Federal Government would borrow the money from, at perhaps at a higher interest rate. In either scenario we the people have to pay back the loans through tolls or user fees. The difference is that with private sector owners we also have to pay them profits that would otherwise accrue to the tax payer. Meanwhile, they would be certain to negotiate contracts that insulate them from any real project risk.
    Our infrastructure deficits consist of many types of projects that are of no interest to private sector owners, such as small bridges and urban water pipe replacement. So let's stop talking about "private sector money" that doesn't exist.

  175. It's even worse. Per NYT, while reporting on the recent departure of Rachel Brand from the DOJ:

    "Under the revised policy, Ms. Brand said, the Justice Department will not “use its enforcement authority to effectively convert agency guidance documents into binding rules.” Moreover, she said, Justice Department lawyers, who represent federal agencies in court, “may not use noncompliance with guidance documents as a basis for proving violations of applicable law.”

    In a footnote, the Trump administration makes clear that the new policy has broad ramifications: It applies to any civil lawsuits filed on behalf of the federal government to “impose penalties for violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws.” It also applies to cases in which the government asserts that health care providers or federal contractors defrauded the government by filing false or inflated claims."

    Got that? Translation - the DOJ will not enforce federal agency guidelines to go after government contractors who rip off the government, period. Or, as Charles Pierce says, this is ringing the dinner bell for would-be "infrastructure contractors". Baby, the fix is in - every last piece of it. A regular feeding frenzy, and we're the meat.

  176. ...and what are y'all willing to do about it?
    ...
    Write pitiful letters to the editor and vow to show'em in the next election. Ha!

  177. Of the three entities, federal government, state government and private industry, it seems to me the states are likely the best owners/overseers of the massive projects needing doing. There are problems with all three, but the federal government is distant and inefficient. The last thing you'd want are private companies in full charge, with short term profit motives and little regulation - remember Big Pharma and Big Tobacco when thinking about global warming and lack of adequate regulation.

    State/local government would raise money through taxation, probably heavily so on corporations, thus taking back some of what the GOP just handed them. But it means rural areas with no corporate tax base would rarely have the budgets to fix anything. This proposal needs a lot of thinking about but in the U.S. there really aren't any non-problematic solutions, only less bad ones. We are the same country who can't fix healthcare or infrastructure or mass shootings or anti-scientific silliness let alone cultural problems so it's best to leave endless Washington political wrangling out of the country's serious infrastructure needs.

  178. Good luck getting all of these Republican-controlled state legislatures and governors to tax corporations. I'd love to see that, but I'm not holding my breath!

  179. Robbi,
    That's a cop out. Krugman offered a number of examples of successful federal projects. I'm hard pressed to think of many successful state infrastructure projects. Would you like to provide a list?

  180. "anti-scientific silliness"? What do you call putting Big Pharma and Big Tobacco on the same level? Big Pharma, for all its faults (and there are many), employ a bunch of really dedicated scientists who work overtime trying to discover therapies and cures for human ailments. On the other side, Big Tobacco only produces a delivery method for the most potent carcinogenic substance ever known to mankind (by absolute numbers of affected individuals). Yeah, time to stop the "anti-scientific silliness" from both the left and the right!

  181. I thought the one thing Trump would do is infrastructure..While he was a builder, he built tall buildings at first, golf courses and the skating rink. That's is not airports, railroads, bridges, tunnels. He doesn't know how to even begin such projects which require interstate cooperation, cost sharing, etc. That is totally beyond his scope and abilities. How will his base which rationalizes everything he does, rationalize a nonstarter infrastructure program?

  182. Because it was Hillary’s fault (somehow)

  183. Trump is all about the grand announcement, the showmanship, and the chance to put his ridiculous signature on some order or piece of legislation he hasn't read. Any details come from the cabal with which he has surrounded himself. They would love every bridge, highway, road, and dam to be owned by one of their wealthy class so that average Americans could be tolled (taxed) to death for every move they make, for the water they drink, and for the opportunity to flush their waste through the best ever Trump sewer system (no gold plate needed).

  184. You are correct. Just look at Argentina which sold off its public highways. It costs more to drive 50 miles outside of Buenos Aires than it currently does to drive from Maine to Florida. Taking money out of the education system makes more dumb voters who will follow Trump bites. We are doomed if the electorate does not wake up by November.

  185. Republicans hate taxes because those are paid by the rich. The Republicans love tolls because those are paid by everyone else.

  186. So, public services get privatized. Who then pays for them? Who profits from the private enterprises?
    There is a school of political thought that says that it makes sense for people who use services to pay for them. The fly in that ointment is that many public services contribute to the general good. If people aren't willing to pay taxes to support them, we won't have those services.

  187. Look at what a commute costs Washingtonians coming into DC these days on the "toll road" Sixty dollars one way I believe.

  188. Republians don't believe there is any such thing as the general good.

  189. It’s not surprising Trump wants to sell off federally held assets to private entities. This is similar to what happened in Russia, where the country’s resources became owned by small groups of people who amassed great wealth, which they then take out of the country and hide in places like the Cayman Islands or purchasing $50M apartments in NYC.

  190. If Russian oligarchs are taking their wealth out of Russia and putting it in "$50 million apartments in NYC", where is the Trump family going to put their wealth? Russia? Actually, this is less of a joke than most people think. Trump did have (has?) plans to build a Trump tower in Moscow.

  191. Private entities with foreign investors like in Blackstone. $20billion from the Saudis into Blackstone infrastructure fund already. Yes, the same Saudis that produced most of the 9/11 terrorists. America is not only open for business, it is for sale.

  192. I wonder how many of those pregnant Russian women lying around Miami Beach hotels waiting to deliver babies in the U.S. are the wives of those same Russian plunderers? Guess who then become able to be elected POTUS? This is too scary to dismiss outright. The Manchurian candidate was elected, even if he didn't know it.

  193. I wish I could take credit for the following which appeared as an anonymous comment in a local paper yesterday in response to an article about Trump's "plan".

    "Here is what Trump's magical arithmetic looks like. The feds put in $200 billion. That gets "leveraged" somehow up to $1500 billion with state and local funds and private money. $1300 billion will have to come from state, local, and private funding. Maine has about 1/250 of the population of the country as a whole. $1300 billion divided by 250 comes out to be $5.2 billion in state, local, and private funding for Maine over 10 years. So Maine will have to come up with $520,000,000 a year. State budget hawks are going to have a cow."

  194. On the point about advice from experts, I suspect experts would advise this or any other president that big investments in infrastructure at this time would have to include major projects to protect areas most susceptible to suffer from climate change. Then, it would be a real paradox, even for this administration, to go on selling the idea of investing in projects to mitigate the effects of something the same administration says it's not happening.

  195. Reading this infrastructure proposal is like reading “Frankenstein”. A monster is being born and that monster is Donald Trump

  196. Except the monster has lots of money and power, and people fawn over him instead of driving him out..... Ick.

  197. "To do public investment successfully, you need leadership and advice from experts. And this administration doesn’t do expertise, in any field. Not only do experts have a nasty habit of telling you things you don’t want to hear, their loyalty is suspect: You never know when their professional ethics might kick in."

    Dr. Krugman, you've hit it--the above point applies to just about everything this administration is involved with, and why, except for deregulation, it's accomplished so little.

    Yes an infrastructure bill would require true expertise, not just those who would push numbers around on a pad trying to make it seem if they care about the financial math of however they've decided to spend taxpayers' money.

    Like officials who get tainted by association with this demanding president, so do programs: which is why we have so much cutting and gutting but virtually no building of programs to benefit the American people.

  198. Whatever the final budget, however it is achieved, and whatever both its more immediate and long-term valenced outcomes, controllable as well as uncontrollable ones, it is reasonable to consider that no policy makers, elected as well as selected ones, will take any personal responsibility. And we, ordinary folk, will continue to enable a range of unnecessary hurts, harms, and even deaths, to continue. Until the next election. Until the next selection. Party majorities may change. The lack of taking personal responsibility for words and deeds does not. And we have become immune to its toxicity.

  199. On the other hand, this budget could be the beginning of the end of the finger pointing between the States and the Feds. For too long the Feds have been where all the blame went for problems with roads and bridges. In case anybody has forgotten, this is a Federal Republic, which means that States do the domestic stuff and leave the rest to the Feds. Yep, the taxes needed to fix the problems that have accumulated will be painful, and the States won't like imposing them, but if they want to fix bridges that don't carry Interstates or railroads, they will have to find their own way to raise the money.

  200. If the government builds a road, the workers have jobs and profits from construction of the road belong to the US. If a private contractor builds a road, the workers have jobs and profits from construction of the road belong to the contractor-who is probably a one-percenter.

    I am afraid that many workers would prefer to work for the private contractor--hoping that they too can someday become a one-percenter---and ignoring the possibility that the contractor might stiff them on payment for their work. (I have heard that Trump has expertise in this area.)

  201. Most blue collar workers are not clueless and would far prefer a government job that gives them and their families health care benefits, reasonable working hours and the prospect of a decent retirement. Subcontracting type jobs can be fleeting, with few benefits, decent hours, or salary guarantees.

  202. Mr. Trump's only experience with building is construction of Towers, golf courses and gambling casinos and the skating rink in Central Park.He does not move about the country experiencing crowded roads, unsafe trains and overburdened airports.To him infrastructure is an abstraction.He only builds to house and entertain the rich.No wonder he can't come up with a robust plan to replace and rebuild our infrastructure.

  203. "By the way, some Democrats feared that Trump really would go big on infrastructure, which might drive a wedge into their party and be highly popular besides."

    Trump doing something meaningful or something to benefit ordinary Americans?
    That is risible. Why do Democrats keep overestimating this guy (or underestimating him)?
    Here's is how to think like Trump.
    Think of a scenario where there is an optimum solution that benefits everybody. Then think of the exact opposite. He will choose the solution that benefits the fewest. He will reward the very rich. That is what Trump is going to do. And, if that is too hard to imagine, just think of an asteroid headed towards the earth. The Republicans have given that asteroid various names. It is called trickle-down economics, tax cuts or a multiplier. Whatever euphemism is used, the purpose is to detract from its real intent.

  204. Yet another example of trickle down economics at work - the federal government cuts and slashes with the standard talking point(s) that state and local governments, or even private enterprises, can do it better when they are the decision makers. State and local governments with either empty accounts, or lock boxes filed with IOU's , are then left with the decision to do nothing or raise local taxes to somehow hope to accomplish something. And a significant percentage of the voting public buys this tripe. Later, if even then, they wonder why things are crumbling under their very feet. The definition of insanity proved yet again.

  205. I have often claimed that "Federal Property" is actually the property of the American people who bought or financed land, bridges, tunnels etc with their tax dollars. I've always been a bit disturbed at how the "People's Property" is doled out to resource Pirates and business interests. Now I strenuously object to the idea of the federal government "Privatizing" OUR property for their economic profiteering. The corruption just keeps piling on. I think we need to concentrate on Trump's areas of investments more than just his Tax returns.

  206. I am encouraged by President Trump's infrastructure plan; I like it because it places a measure of responsibility for the states to put up some money, to contribute their fair share. That means they might have to raise state and local taxes, which by the way are no longer subsidized fully by the federal government, one of the reasons why I am a huge fan of the Trump tax reform. Here in Tennessee, gas taxes were raised to pay for highway improvements, although some fiscal conservatives opposed the increase, Governor Haslem explained that out of state motorists who criss-cross the Volunteer state will pay the taxes too, and therefore pay for Tennessee highways. Yeah, that's the way should be. Liberals oppose this because they want the federal government to pay for everything. Liberals like high taxes. Well, a lot of those high taxes go into pockets of the overpaid bloated bureaucracy, especially in Washington, DC. Life, as I come to know, is different outside the Beltway, and the scion of New York, who is no our President, like it or not, knows that and is instituting policies that reflect that reality. I support the President. I support Trump. May he triumph triumphantly! Thank you.

  207. I wonder, if the fraud, duplication and waste was eliminated from the Military Budget (let alone what could be saved from undoing the privatization of many support services), how much would that yield for infrastructure spending?

  208. I can't wait to see just how much in the way of tolls we'll be forced to pay private companies for the "privilege" of driving on the roads or bridges they built... and there's certainly going to be a double penalty since taxes will somehow be a foundation for their efforts....

  209. With the massive increase in defense spending and a tax bill that will result in less money coming in, Repub$ and "45" have decided that infrastructure spending is not as important as lining the pockets of the wealthy and increasing the profits of large corporations (increased defense spending).

  210. Edifice complex - so that is what it's called. Why can't rich people be the quiet behind the scenes, doing good for "all" men, kind of people they used to be? A lot of private money went into our library systems, too, but thank God, at least around here, we still call it the "Public Library", and everyone is welcome comfortable using it. Putting your name on a building is just more evidence of what has gone wrong with society.

  211. You missed the whole premise is wrong, the gleaming bridges, etc. the ASCE grade of D+ is simply for existing infrastructure maintenance. Money is due for past millenium maintenance on railroads, bridges, subways, roads. Added on to that is simply bringing existing infrastructure up to 21st century standards based upon confident science estimates of changing climate change (no pun intended) conditions, for which zero, that be zip, null, money has been proposed.

  212. This will work. His cronies and those connected will build the infrastructure with loans backed by government guarantees and make outside profits and then outside returns for the rest of their lives and the lives of their children. 99 year leases. Dynasties will be born. They will own larger and larger pieces of what should be owned by all of us, by each of us as citizens. We will pay taxes that will be called tolls or user fees or names and phrases yet to be created. The rich will get richer as capitalism and corruption feast on a tired and confused democracy. I mourn for my country.

  213. Well may you mourn. I grew up in Scotland admiring Americans most sincerely. I was born in 1948, in a free country thanks to America who defeated the Nazis. OK there were millions of Russians who also paid the price in lives, but if it hadn't been for the 'Essential Americans' as described by Churchill, Hitler wouldn't have been defeated.
    Now America is neglecting its own average Joe who creates the wealth of a nation, but instead worships the Kochs. America allows its wealth to be spirited away to the Cayman Islands and other undeserving tax havens.

  214. Thank you James for reminding me of a part of my American history that chokes me up a bit but strengthens my resolve.

  215. Paul says: “So the Trump administration probably couldn’t put together a real infrastructure plan even if it wanted to. And that’s why it didn’t.”

    Of course, Trump himself didn’t put the plan together, and probably never read it. And why would the billionaire puppet masters want an infrastructure plan: they don’t need highways or other government services. They’re pretty comfortable and can run things from their yachts and golf clubs and an occasional island get together.

    The GOP Congress may put out a plan intended primarily to put the Dems off balance and score a few points for 2018. But nothing much is going to happen.

  216. An even better time for infrastructure investment would have been immediately after the Great Recession. Why didn't the Democrats take this on when they had control? Perhaps, they were overly focused on the health care albatross.

  217. OK, this is getting weird. Comments that 'innocently' wonder why Obama didn't push for infrastructure spending???? Look it up if you have forgotten in a few short years.

    Look up "Obama infrastructure". Look up from right wing and leftie sites. Republicans: Obama wants to blow up the inflation gods with spending!! He wants to kill us all!!

    You can't be this gullible, tRump voters. Just because FOX tells you something doesn't mean you lose all your ability to remember when you heard something different??

    This is where I start worrying about America itself; when Republican voters chant 'death to democrats' in unison for no reason other than a con man delighted them by authorizing it.

  218. Two reasons: Mitch McConnell and Mitch McConnell. Well, a third: Paul Ryan.

  219. My wife says I worry too much of things I am unable to change. For instance I drive a main highway twice a year. It used to be a two lane, full of potholes type of highway . All that has changed. It is now a four lane highway with no pot holes but it has a toll gate at each end. The toll is quite high but for once a year quite affordable. I worry about how I would pay for it if I used every day. I am told I would be a beneficiary and I get a discount so I should be glad. The discount is rather mean as the road was improved with private investment. and the investor of course needs to make a profit which the government has ordained to be tax free. On each side of the highway are huge mansions with endless gardens and there are horses that the children use. All this has to be maintained by workers who cannot afford the tolls.. I am told this is possible because the owners of these mansions use the feudal system to provide a room or two so that the staff don’t use the highway. Am I right to say the mansion owners are the cronies of the government, so they get the contract and benefit from the status quo.

  220. It begs the question why Obama didn't push for more infrastructure spending. The Dems could have passed a massive infrastructure bill in 09 or 10 without any Republican support. But even after that, Obama could have used the bully pulpit to push for one. He could have harped on it every day. He didn't.

  221. Your memory is short, Kyle.
    Here's just one article from the internet: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/03/obama-calls-infrast...

    It wasn't that long ago, Kyle. FOX is lying to you again, and you believe it. Again. Obama bad, Trump good. But it's not true.

    Congress has to pass legislation for these things, not the president. Remember when the Republicans required 60 votes to get anything done under Obama?

    Read, research, do what you must to get informed. He did harp on it. You forget, but that's not history's fault.

  222. in '09 and '10, Obama was busy fighting two wars he didn't start. He was also plugging the sinking American economy. All problems which arose on the GOP's watch.
    I guess persons of faith will say that it took God only 7 days to create the earth. But He didn't have the Republicans to deal with.

  223. If anyone thinks that Trump has really developed a serious plan to rebuild America's infrastructure, please take a look at the fine job his administration is doing in Puerto Rico. And the fine work he did with his casino in Atlantic City. And the fine work he did in building Trump University.

    This guy is a flim-flam man, and his legacy appears to be nothing more than putting his name on properties that others actually build. And declaring bankruptcy, of course, when his poorly planned investments don't deliver the returns he promised.

  224. This country better think seriously about its infrastructure. I live in a city that continued to kick the can down the road regarding our sewer system. In July 2017 the city agreed to a partial settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to resolve alleged Clean Water Act violations involving sewer overflows. What was the cost? Every household now pays approximately $45/month to resolve the problem! That's in addition to our water and quarterly sewer bills. IT's far better to resolve smaller problems now than to wait until we are in crisis mode.

  225. If the made up $1.5 trillion investment in infrastructure was true, Trump not only would have to rely on experts but in developing that endeavor, it would be obvious the need of immigrant workers and the need of massive imports of industrial supplies. EG do we produce all the necessary iron? Trump would be backtracking his most valued pillars: stopping immigration and trade in order to "make America great".

    Additionally, it would also show Americans how the Trumps could perfect our very own Odebrecht.

  226. Privatizing major airports, roads, electric facilities (e.g., TVA), dams, and the rest is a step that cannot be undone. I hope Congress thinks hard about handing over the ownership and management of these vital pieces of infrastructure to corporations that not only cannot be trusted to do what's best for the citizenry, but also may not be around in 20 or 30 years. This is nothing short of Trump and his cronies abdicating their responsibility to govern, protect the people and the assets of our country.

  227. Elaine Chao, the Secretary of Transportation (and Mitch McConnell’s wife) has been touting privatization of our infrastructure since Day One.

  228. This happened in our little corner of the state, when a few wealthy guys pirated the youth baseball program and parks away from the YMCA and city. We used to play on three well-kept city parks, and the neighborhood kids rode their bicycles, gloves on the handle bars, to watch the games, but these men wanted their own park, outside of town. And, by all accounts, it was nice, until the park fell into disrepair, along with the men. And, it wouldn't have been so bad, and caught the eyes of some, had the men not chosen to blame the parents - claiming the upkeep of the outfield was the parent's responsibility. Then it was discovered they had dissolved the 501C3, the park and program was registered under, outside of the reinstatement period. But, for five years or more, they were accepting tax deductible donations and memorials from dead guys and gals.

  229. Mexico and other countries have sold pubic assets to their rich friends and it always ends in a massive transfer of wealth to those outsiders who often are directly connected with the government, including Russia.
    The Trump infrastructure plan was developed in Russia and is intended to help Trump with the Russian billionaires who have been funding his private businesses for decades.

  230. The Conman & of course the entire GOP legislature is following the Koch's playbook. The libertarian Koch's & their dark money billionaire buddies want 2 things from the federal government - no taxes on billionaires & military protections for billionaires property. That's it. All other governmental functions should be either eliminated or privatized to generate more profits for billionaires. Luckily for the low-information Trumpeters the Koch's are getting their wish.

  231. All those Trump voters will have to contend with huge potholes, bridges that fall down, dams that break and trains that crash. And in the rural areas who steadfastly supported our President, and still do, their water and air will be polluted with the waste of unregulated mining.

  232. Infrastructure renewal is what really would make America great again.
    But for this, the President and the GOP will make America wait again.

  233. This is no infrastructure plan. This is just scam that will enrich his rich cronies and donors who will borrow the money to pay for road, bridge, and dam improvements (and maybe even build a new airport or two or hospital or school) and we, the taxpayers, will get stuck footing the bill. Be prepared to pay to use most highways and to cross most bridges. And the money from these tolls won't be used for maintenance, etc., it will simply enrich the people who built it. Any losses, the taxpayer will be responsible for; any profits will go to the corporations.

  234. Trump won't be satisfied until everything -- the court system, fire, police, military -- are all in private hands. Imagine how much better off we all would be.

  235. High tax, big spending liberal states already invest in infrastructure. That is why they have all the jobs and income. Low tax, low spending states refuse to invest in infrastructure. That is why they will always be poor.

  236. I think that the ONLY people who believe in and are going along with Trump's infrastructure scam ARE graduates from Trump University (or an equivalent education).

  237. Donald Trump has long employed the use, and abuse, of other people’s money to do his building and his bidding. His “infrastructure plan” is of the same vein, shifting responsibility others so that when his plan fails, he has others to blame

    This is not leadership, particularly from an individual who has routinely and apparently without conscience, repeatedly shirked his financial responsibilities to others by defaulting on financial obligations to lenders, contractors, and that’s just for a start.

    Unless Trump can plaster his name on something, he is not particularly interested in it. He may yearn for the domestic equivalent of a Marshall Plan, replacing Marshall’s name with his own. However, with a track record increasingly of failure, fiscal irresponsibility and lining the pockets of only the wealthy, it seems that Trump’s superficial and largely unfunded plan is just another of a long list of cons designed to distract Americans by virtue only of its signage, rather than needed substance.