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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.57 minutes to read.

“This kind of bipartisanship is heartening — and will lead to important investments in roads, bridges, rail, broadband internet and the electric grid. Yet the bill also thoroughly exposes the glaring problem with the Republican Party’s opposition to additional taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

The bill is designed to satisfy the GOP’s steadfast opposition to new taxes. To do so, the bipartisan group has exaggerated the new investments in the bill — as well as the revenues to pay for those investments…

While some Democrats would welcome offsetting cuts in military spending, the Republicans heatedly object. And while Republicans have tried repeatedly to cut social programs, most Democrats and the public want more, not less, social spending.

That leaves two ways to pay for the needed investments. One is deficit financing — or increasing the public debt. The problem here is that the budget deficit is already quite high, and the public debt has reached 100% of gross domestic product, the highest debt-GDP ratio since World War II.

The other way to finance infrastructure spending is by increasing taxes. Fortunately, with the stock market booming, corporations earning sky-high profits and the wealthiest Americans enjoying unprecedented wealth, the richest companies and Americans can carry much of the load. In addition, according to the Biden administration, with tax evasion running at an astounding $600 billion or more per year, tax enforcement can also help enormously…

Either we raise taxes on the rich and powerful, or we will drown in public debt with an outmoded infrastructure unfit for the 21st century.”

Jeffrey Sachs, professor and director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and president of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (Published in CNN)

“The infrastructure debate hinged in its early stages on a not-so-simple question: What is infrastructure, anyway? Legislators are right to agree that broadband counts. After all, Americans don’t get to work on roads, rails and bridges when work is remote. The ability of negotiators to settle on a number as big as the $65 billion in today’s draft legislation is itself impressive. Even more encouraging is the manner in which that $65 billion will be allocated: not only toward creating the connections to make broadband theoretically available to those currently unserved, but also toward making it affordable…

In an ideal world, society might ensure that every household has adequate income, and let people decide for themselves how to allocate it, rather than creating separate bureaucracies to help pay for food, rent, child care and, now, Internet bills. But that’s not our current world. Congress is prepared to make a massive investment in a defining element of modern-day infrastructure. Every member should want to help make this history.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.61 minutes to read.

“It isn’t just the Biden administration that is keen to redefine the term “infrastructure.” A growing number of Republican senators are getting in on the act, and more fool the party…

Polls show a majority of Americans support the idea of infrastructure spending, so the bill takes care to lead with items that most people associate with that term—highways, bridges, tunnels, ports, waterways. Yet according to a breakout from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, those provisions account for about $127 billion, or a mere 23%, of the bill’s $548 billion in new spending…

So why did 17 GOP senators vote to proceed? On the baser end of the scale, here’s the dirty little secret: The bill fundamentally amounts to a heap of spending, and some Republicans can spend with the best of Democrats…

The more charitable view is that some Republicans think the bill helped reduce the reconciliation price tag. (Because $3.5 trillion is apparently much better than . . . what?) Others make the stronger argument that the show of bipartisanship possibly makes it harder for Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema to abandon the filibuster.

Yet these vague unknowns have to be weighed against the inevitable cost, the terrible policies, the bailouts, the corporate welfare and the growth in federal power and reach—all of which Republicans claim to oppose.”

Kimberley Strassel, WSJ

“The $1 trillion “infrastructure” plan poised to pass the Senate is a bad bill; the only possible excuse its Republican backers have is the claim that it may help stop a truly terrible one — the $3.5 trillion social-spendapalooza Democrats will introduce next.

Contra the hype, the 2,700-page “bad” bill won’t pay for itself, and only a tenth of its spending ($110 billion) is for roads, bridges and other major infrastructure projects.

The “pays for itself” claim is bunk: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it’ll add $256 billion to the deficit over the next decade… Notably, it pretends that using leftover COVID-relief funds and unemployment benefits will save $263 billion; the CBO says it’d be more like $22 billion.

Worse: Once the Senate passes this mess, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says, it will then take up the $3.5 trillion package — a horror aiming to turn America into the welfare state of Bernie Sanders’ dreams.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is backing the infrastructure bill, with the calculation that it will give a win to Dem moderates like Joe Manchin (D-WVa.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and encourage them to hold the line against the bigger bill. Schumer plans to ram through the larger package using reconciliation and can’t afford to lose one Democrat vote. But that’s a huge risk.”

Editorial Board, NY Post