Make America Great Again

by James Wallace Harris, 10/2/21

Donald Trump had his shot at making America great again with his tax cuts for the rich. That put us trillions in debt. Why not let Biden have his legislative shot to make America great again? It will add more trillions to the national debt, but why worry about that now when we didn’t under Trump? Besides, the consequences of doing nothing condemns us to failure. And who knows, rebuilding the country might increase the economy letting us afford to pay off the debt better in the future? Isn’t that what the Republicans promised? Why shouldn’t the Democrats have their chance at the same idea?

Isn’t it time to try the trickle up theory? The conservative theory claimed if the rich had more money some of it would trickle down to help all Americans. That hasn’t happened. Let’s try the opposite, make everyone better off, and maybe some of the wealth will trickle up to the wealthy.

To find out what’s in the infrastructure bills, I copied the details from Investopedia. It all sounds good to me. We’ve been avoiding fixing all this stuff for decades. Why not just go ahead and get it done?

We’ve tried the Republican’s method more than once, let’s test the opposite to see if it works?

What's in the $1.2 Trillion Bipartisan Bill

The 2,702-page bipartisan bill contains just $550 billion in new spending. The $1.2 trillion figure comes from including additional funding normally allocated each year for highways and other infrastructure projects. The new spending consists of:8

$110 billion for roads and bridges. In addition to construction and repair, the funding also helps pay for transportation research at universities, funding for Puerto Rico’s highways, and “congestion relief” in American cities.

$66 billion for railroads. Funding includes upgrades and maintenance of America’s passenger rail system and freight rail safety, but nothing for high-speed rail.

$65 billion for the power grid. The bill would fund updates to power lines and cables, as well as provide money to prevent hacking of the power grid. Clean energy funding is also included.

$65 billion for broadband. Includes funding to expand broadband in rural areas and in low-income communities. Approximately $14 billion of the total would help reduce internet bills for low-income citizens.

$55 billion for water infrastructure. This funding includes $15 billion for lead pipe replacement, $10 billion for chemical clean-up, and money to provide clean drinking water in tribal communities.

$47 billion for cybersecurity and climate change. The Resilience fund will protect infrastructure from cybersecurity attacks and address flooding, wildfires, coastal erosion, and droughts along with other extreme weather events.

$39 billion for public transit. Funding here provides for upgrades to public transit systems nationwide. The allocation also includes money to create new bus routes and help make public transit more accessible to seniors and disabled Americans.

$25 billion for airports. This allocation provides funding for major upgrades and expansions at U.S. airports. Air traffic control towers and systems would receive $5 billion of the total for upgrades.

$21 billion for the environment. These monies would be used to clean up superfund and brownfield sites, abandoned mines, and old oil and gas wells.

$17 billion for ports. Half of the funds in this category would go to the Army Corps of Engineers for port infrastructure. Additional funds would go to the Coast Guard, ferry terminals, and reduction of truck emissions at ports.

$11 billion for safety. Appropriations here are to address highway, pedestrian, pipeline, and other safety areas with highway safety getting the bulk of the funding.

$8 billion for Western water infrastructure. Ongoing drought conditions in the western half of the country will be addressed through investments in water treatment, storage, and reuse facilities.

$7.5 bill for electric vehicle charging stations. The Biden administration asked for this funding to build significantly more charging stations for electric vehicles across the nation.

$7.5 billion for electric school buses. With an emphasis on bus fleet replacement in low-income, rural, and tribal communities, this funding is expected to allow those communities to convert to zero-emission buses.

What's in the $3.5 Trillion Democratic Proposal

The Democratic FY2022 Budget Resolution Agreement Framework memorandum is designed to enact President Biden's Build Back Better agenda. This proposal, often referred to as an investment in human infrastructure, is far-reaching and ambitious. It lists the following amounts and areas to be addressed:9

$135 billion for the Committee on Agriculture Nutrition and Forestry. Funding to be used to address forest fires, reduce carbon emissions, and address drought concerns.

$332 billion for the Banking Committee. Including investments in public housing, the Housing Trust Fund, housing affordability, and equity and community land trusts.

$198 billion for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. This would develop clean energy.

$67 billion for the Environment and Public Works Committee. These monies would fund low-income solar and other climate-friendly technologies.

$1.8 trillion for the Finance Committee. This part of the bill is for investments in working families, the elderly, and the environment. It includes a tax cut for Americans making less than $400,000 a year, lowering the price of prescription drugs, and ensuring the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

$726 billion for the Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions Committee. This addresses universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, childcare for working families, tuition-free community college, funding for historically black colleges and universities, and an expansion of the Pell Grant for higher education.

$37 billion for the HSGAC Committee. This would electrify the federal vehicle fleet, electrify and rehab federal buildings, improve cybersecurity infrastructure, reinforce border management, invest in green-materials procurement, and invest in resilience. 

$107 billion for the Judiciary Committee. These funds address establishing "lawful permanent status for qualified immigrants."

$20.5 billion for the Indian Affairs Committee. This addresses Native American health programs and facilities, education programs and facilities, housing programs, energy programs, resilience and climate programs, BIA programs and facilities, Native language programs, and the Native Civilian Climate Corps.

$25 billion for the Small Business Committee. This provides for small business access to credit, investment, and markets.

$18 billion for the Veterans Affairs Committee. This funds upgrades to veteran facilities.

$83 billion for the Commerce Committee. This goes to investments in technology, transportation, research, manufacturing, and economic development. It provides funding for coastal resiliency, healthy oceans investments, including the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund and the National Science Foundation research and technology directorate.

JWH

6 thoughts on “Make America Great Again”

  1. James, I do not have the right to comment because I don’t vote. But I am going to anyway inspired by your mention of trillions of dollars. The US government spent somewhere between six and twelve trillion dollars on killing Arabs. During that time their population doubled, and everything that was produced (I won’t say accomplished) with those trillions of dollars was reversed in, what? two days?

    I don’t really care because I believe that humans lack the intelligence to keep their civilizations intact (the biggest problem being the permanent depletion of water due to overpopulation by six billion people at this point); but I do think about how much health care and assistance for poor people could have been provided with, say, the ten trillion dollars the US government spent on killing and maiming over a million people (counting Iraq) for no reason.

    1. Yes, we do waste a lot of money. We should have used all that war money to help our neighbors in Central and South America to improve their economies, and maybe avoided our current refugee crisis. I guess it all comes down to learning to spend our money wisely.

  2. You make a good and wise argument. I wish our politicians could think as rationally, and not be driven by crushing the “opposition” and doing whatever it takes to get re-elected. Somehow, the interests of the country and the American people were abandoned.

  3. Hi James

    I have long been hoping for trickle up economics since it seems to work on a small scale whenever it is tried. Trickle down a beloved approach of our Premier has also been tried and resulted in the inequity we see today Of course this is the same Premier
    who has gifted us with the highest rate of covid in Canada. Sadly when we walk the dogs in our neighbourhood in Calgary we see at least two trucks with MAGA hats proudly displayed on the dash so I have to wonder when things will change.

    Oh well Happy Reading
    Guy

    1. Definitely, Rick. To stop climate change will require completely giving up using fossil fuels. I don’t know if that will happen in time. But to get to a place where we’re thinking about that, I believe a good majority has to agree on rebuilding the country. I figure if Biden gets the infrastructure work going, that might happen. If he doesn’t, the Republicans will win in 2022 and 2024 and there will be zero chance of doing anything about climate change.

      I agree, the game is about petty partisan politics. It’s about saving the world. There are few signs of hope that humanity will change in time, but if we start fixing some things, maybe we’ll learn we can fix everything.

      I want the infrastructure bills passed because it’s a step toward unity, of rebuilding, of actually making America great again.

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