Not quite the $1 trillion he campaigned on, but an impact maker nonetheless?

Trump budget plan will seek $200 billion for infrastructure over 10 years


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By —— Bio and Archives May 19, 2017

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If you want to judge the Trump infrastructure proposal by comparing it to what he campaigned on, you’d have to say one of two things:

  1. Thank God he only proposed to spend 20 percent of the 10-year, $1 trillion blowout he promised, since that would have been a fiscal disaster.
  2. What? Only $200 billion? What the **** happened to $1 trillion?

I tend toward the former. Infrastructure is undoubtedly a role for government, although there’s plenty of room to debate how much of it should come from Washington as opposed to the states. And there’s no question the work needs to be done, although I’ve always been skeptical of the idea that we should do infrastructure projects to “create jobs” or whatever. You should only spend money on something because the something needs to be done, not because you’re hoping the thing will stimulate other things. That’s artificial and almost never gets the results it’s designed to get.

So does that mean $20 billion a year over 10 years strikes the right balance? Really fix the roads and bridges but let go of the hubris that thinks you’re going to revive the whole economy in the process? That’s probably the best way to look at it:

President Donald Trump will propose $200 billion in infrastructure spending over 10 years in his first budget on Tuesday - funding the administration believes will boost private, state and local spending on projects, a White House official said on Friday.

The infrastructure plan, first reported by Bloomberg News, is likely to include funding to encourage state and local governments to lease assets to the private sector to generate funding for other projects.

Trump has long pledged a $1 trillion, 10-year plan to modernize U.S. roads, bridges, airports, the electrical grid and water systems, but has so far been vague on how much of the spending would come from the federal government.

If the idea here is to spend the $200 billion in the form of federal matching funds, with state and local spending adding to the total, then you could be getting to a higher overall figure - although it’s hard to see how it totals anything near $1 trillion over 10 years.

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