In recent months I’ve held my tongue regarding President Trump’s upcoming proposal for a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. While it goes against my firm beliefs in reining in the federal government and reducing budgets rather than increasing them, it’s premature to oppose it wholeheartedly. After all, his promise to make private investments the bulk of the funding may not turn out to be another “Mexico is going to pay for it” moment.
The Democrats aren’t waiting before condemning the initiative. They decided to double it with no pretense of shifting burden away from taxpayers. Their plan calls for $200 billion per year for a decade fully funded by the public.
Few would argue the infrastructure doesn’t need improvement and interstate travel falls squarely in line with the federal mandate which is why I’ve held my opposition to Trump’s proposal until we see it. With that said, I don’t need to see a single detail of the Democrats’ proposal beyond the price tag. $2 trillion is so far west of crazyville it’s insane more conservative blogs aren’t up in arms. Between the Paris accords and the London attack, it’s probably just so far down the news food chain. Besides, they couldn’t pull it off, could they?
Actually, yes. If the economy turns south in the next year, it’s very likely this proposal could become one of the rallying cries the Democrats use to gain control of the House and Senate. Dubbed the “21st Century New Deal for Jobs,” they hope to invoke the huge government expansion of FDR to drive support. Like President Obama’s stimulus, they’ll use it to promote the concept of “shovel-ready jobs” to help put Americans back to work.
Here’s the problem. Americans are going back to work already. The economy is looking so much stronger now than it did just a couple of years ago that the Democrats would have to hope for a near-collapse in order to make their case an important one for the 2018 elections. Granted, the economy isn’t as strong as public numbers show, but more people are working today than they were last year and if the GOP’s agenda pans out as expected, we can expect the jobs numbers to stay strong.
There are still many pitfalls the GOP needs to overcome in order to maintain their majorities. Obamacare repeal and tax reform are right there at the top. Jobs are the perennial concern, so if the GOP delivers, the Democrats will have to try to spook voters instead of winning them over with their New Deal. The further we can push away from FDR’s legacy of expansive government, the better.