Infrastructure Week Is Over, and Infrastructure Is Dead

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The latest iteration of infrastructure week ends today, and as usual the prospect of new infrastructure has ended too. Also as usual, it was Republicans who killed the idea:

Every few months, President Donald Trump gets in the negotiating room with Democrats and everyone leaves happy — except for the president’s own party.

….This time, Republicans had to rein in the president from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue since they didn’t have a seat at the table. But the message was basically the same: Trump’s tentative infrastructure agreement with Democrats is little more than a pipe dream that won’t go far in the GOP-controlled Senate. “A lot of us enjoy watching … the trial balloons he floats. And oftentimes they’re extreme and aspirational,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). “And then the pushback comes, oftentimes from his own party.”

….Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) emphasized that any legislation needs to be fully paid for and sought to put some perspective on the massive price tag. “Two trillion is really ambitious. If you do a 35-cent increase in the gas tax for example, index for inflation, it only gets you half a trillion,” said Thune, a former commerce chairman.

Well, fine, let’s do a 35-cent increase in the gas tax and settle for half a trillion. We’d get more infrastructure and a little less gasoline use. What’s not to like?

Just kidding, of course. That’s a tax increase. We all know that’s unpossible. Really, the only way to fund infrastructure is to cut Medicaid and food stamps and then privately finance all the construction, to be paid for by tolls on its usage. No serious person really entertains any other possibility.

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