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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Trump's infrastructure plan is about hurting blue states—even if that means hurting the economy



US President Donald Trump looks on before delivering a speech during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting on January 26, 2018 in Davos, eastern Switzerland. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI        (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Like the Republican tax bill, Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan is all about hurting blue states, even at the expense of the broader economy.
The White House isn’t being coy about where its priorities lie in the $1.5 trillion proposal, released Monday: Of the $200 billion in actual federal investment called for in the 10-year plan, one-quarter would go to rural areas for purposes as diverse as sewers, highways, airports and broadband. But only 14 percent of people in the U.S. live in non-metropolitan areas. [...]
That could spell real trouble for mega projects across the U.S., from the $64 billion high-speed passenger rail line envisioned for California to the $13 billion Gateway project, which would construct a new rail tunnel connecting New Jersey to midtown Manhattan and repair the existing tunnel that the region's economy relies on, and which is now falling apart.
If the tunnel allowing trains to go between New Jersey and New York fails before a new one is in place, that’s a huge economic hit to an entire region. But Trump thinks this infrastructure plan is a chance to make Democratic mayors and governors grovel to him:
At the White House on Monday, Trump — a former reality TV competition host — seemed to revel in the idea that states would be competing for the funds by putting as much skin in the game as possible. Sitting around a table with state and local officials from across the country, including Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia and some Democratic mayors, he invited them to prove their worthiness and suggested some would struggle to do so.
"Let's see how badly you want it," Trump said. "Because if you want it badly, you're going to get it. And if you don't want it, that's OK with me too."
Trump is going to damage vast chunks of the American economy—and huge numbers of working people—because they didn’t vote for him. And he’s going to enjoy it. Make America Great Again? He’s hastening American decline, and he’ll deny that the results have anything to do with him.

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