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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Hill: Congress: Keith Laing: Senator Bernie Sanders: $1T Infrastructure Bill Would Be Cheaper Than Iraq War

The Hill: Congress: Keith Lainge: Senator Bernie Sanders: $1T Infrastructure bill Would be Cheaper Than Iraq War

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be Bernie Sanders if we wasn’t proposing things like a trillion-dollars in infrastructure investment to rebuild America. And I agree with him as far as the amount of money that we should invest to rebuild this country and how that money would be spent. Which would to prioritize much needed infrastructure projects around the country and repairs that must be done to avoid future accidents and to put as many Americans back to work as possible.

The only areas where I disagree with Senator Sanders is how to finance this. What the Senator is talking about is funding this investment through the U.S. Government and taxing corporations’s oversees profits and eliminating tax breaks that they get at home. That part I don’t disagree with, except I would use that revenue differently. But the process is where I have the main problem, because what he’s talking about needs to go through a broader tax reform package that needs to be worked out in Congress between the House and Senate, with President Obama involved. Whatever tax reform that the President and Congress work out would probably a trillion-dollars by itself.

Tax reform and infrastructure are two different issues that should be treated separately. You could invest a trillion-dollars in infrastructure, pay for it without borrowing and not need to do tax reform to get it done. And do tax reform as a different bill. Both are important issues that have to be dealt with to get the type of investment in America that we have to have to make our economy as strong as possible. You could tax oil, you could tax gas, you could raise fees, you could tax things that aren’t very healthy for society. Like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana if it ever legalized federally. And you could bring in the private sector to invest in our infrastructure.

What we could do is to set up a National Infrastructure Bank that would work independent of the U.S. Government, but lets say owned by them. Similar to the Federal Reserve or Amtrak, that would be non-profit. And use this first trillion-dollars to get the NIB up in running and to prioritize infrastructure projects around the country. Consulting the private sector, state and local governments, as well as the Feds. And bringing in private investors to finance these projects around the country. But Senator Sanders bill is an excellent start to a critical issue for the country that has to be addressed.

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