Remember Infrastructure Week? It’s coming back—this time without an infrastructure weakling deflating the promise of a newly rebuilt America.
Joe Biden is set to unveil his sweeping $3 trillion infrastructure plan, and according to Axios, top economists are simply “giddy” about its prospects.
Of course, Republicans understand Keynesian economics as well as anyone else. Increasing government expenditures—whether they come in the form of direct federal spending or tax expenditures (i.e., deductions and cuts)—is a lever we have, and need to use, whenever the economy is forced to recover from the most recent Republican president.
Unfortunately, Republicans love to crash the economy and then handcuff the incoming Democratic president by tightening the government spigot as much as possible.
Remember 2009? That’s when President Obama reached across the aisle for consensus on his vital, post-GOP-president stimulus bill, only to see his hand gnawed off by a phalanx of feral fuck-whistles on the other side.
But Joe Biden ain’t playin’, and—dare I say it?—we could be at the dawn of a new era, when money flows downhill for once and people start to realize that maybe government actually can work for them.
Meanwhile, economists are predicting truly gaudy economic numbers if Biden’s infrastructure plan passes more or less intact.
Economists are becoming positively giddy about the potential for economic growth this year as President Biden and Congressional Democrats look set to push forward a $3 trillion infrastructure bill.
- S&P predicts Biden's infrastructure plan will create 2.3 million jobs by 2024, inject $5.7 trillion into the economy — which would be 10 times what was lost during the recession — and raise per-capita income by $2,400.
The big picture: “We have to have a big public works program,” Lawrence Baxter, director of the Global Financial Markets Center at Duke, tells Axios.
- Baxter compares Biden's proposed new programs to New Deal initiatives like the Blue Ridge Parkway that were created to battle unemployment following the Great Depression.
Despite Donald Trump’s raging incompetence, his 2017 tax cut—pretty much his only legislative “accomplishment”—likely did boost the economy, at least temporarily. Keynesian economics suggests it would pretty much have to, because it allowed more money to flow into the system. Unfortunately, a lot of that extra cash went toward stock buybacks, and the majority of the tax cuts went to people who didn’t need them and were far less likely to spend their windfall than someone not in the top 1% of earners.
But Trump, et al., didn’t design a chiefly middle-class tax cut, despite their cynical and brazen attempts to claim otherwise. Meanwhile, Biden’s proposed federal expenditures are not intended to feather wealthy people’s nests. They’re designed to rebuild our existing infrastructure, point our economy in a greener direction, and ultimately put more dollars in regular people’s pockets.
No wonder Republicans are freaking out right now. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime demonstration of how government can truly work for people, and that’s an existential threat to the GOP, which has been touting starkly different solutions for the past 40 years.
The jig may be up soon, and if Biden can steer clear of major scandals and handle whatever crises come along, he could end up being a transformational figure in American history, returning us to the widespread, post-New Deal prosperity we enjoyed for decades and pulling us out of the supply-side doldrums that have led to inequality and uncertainty (for working people, anyway) throughout the past few decades.
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