July 12, 2017
Remember all those campaign promises Trump made about increasing investment infrastructure and creat¬ing jobs in the process? He lied, just as he was lying about so many other things.
In the Presidential campaign, he ran saying he expected to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure across the country. Further, in February, not long before the White House budget proposal that disclosed that all of this was to be released, Trump said publicly: “We spend $6 trillion in the Middle East and we have potholes all over our highways and our roads ... so we’re going to take care of that. Infrastructure – we’re going to start spending on infrastructure big. Not like we have a choice. It’s not like, oh gee, let’s hold it off.”
Trump can lie all he wants and many will believe every word he says. But some Americans can read and maybe a few will bother to read Trump's proposed budget. According to the March 2017 budget submitted by the White House, funding for infrastructure will be reduced, not increased. Yet, Trump keeps crowing about the money he is going to spend fixing America's roads, bridges, airports, utilities, etc.
The trends were already bad enough under Obama, another lying con-artist who frequently said one thing and then did the opposite.
Non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending was already low, with trends evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office projecting that the NDD budget authority, calculated as a percentage of the GDP, would hit 2.4% by the year 2027.
The new Trump budget accelerates all that so that the NDD spending will hit 2.4% by 2018 – next year. By 2027, however, it would be even lower, down to 1.4%. For those interested in history, that compares to around 6% of the GDP in 1980 and hovering just under 4% between 1990 and the beginning of the Obama administration.
NDD spending has been shrinking for some time in the face of rising entitlement needs and ongoing pressures to increase war spending. Under the Trump administration, vast give-aways for the war industry are being rammed right through, driving all NDD spending down in the process. He is robbing the American people and giving the money to his buddies.
The lack of spending on infrastructure will prevent necessary federal building construction, road and bridge repair, electrical grid upgrades, critical water system maintenance and other infrastructure projects of all kinds. It also means a disaster at the state level – when faced with emergency situations involving the same infrastructure, states will be forced to raise taxes or just let everything continue to decay.
The longer essential maintenance and repairs are delayed the greater the damage to the economy and the higher the ultimate cost.
Minneapolis I-35W Bridge Collapse in which 13 people died and 145 were injured. Photo by Tony Webster, CC
Rotting infrastructure doesn't just damage the economy, it kills people when bridges collapse, roads become unsafe, sink holes swallow homes and cars and drinking water becomes contaminated, etc.
The American people don't have a choice if we want to have a functional country, we have to spend the money one way or another. But Trump had a choice and he chose wrong. He betrayed us. He did not live up to his repeated promises on infrastructure investment.
The reason that Trump won't spend American taxpayer's money on America is because infrastructure means public competitively bid contracts and little opportunity for the money to be stolen on a grand scale. So, Trump diverted the money to the military, where there are myriad ways the money can be stolen.
Remember, the Pentagon simply won't account for $10 trillion in money it has received. Under Trump that number will keep climbing and the evil billionaires will become richer, more powerful and more destructive.
It is estimated that every $1 billion in highway spending can directly and indirectly create up to 13,000 high paying jobs a year. Every billion spent on the military just digs a deeper hole for America to climb out of.