Still suffering from a cold. As such, I'm going to kick the can once again on writing about the Muslim Brotherhood and also Germany's industrial sector, two topics I truly hope to get to soon.
So instead let's talk infrastructure YET AGAIN!
The reason I keep beating the infrastructure drum is that a comprehensive infrastructure plan really could be the Trump administration's best bet to Make America Great Again, in terms of employment and wage growth (not to mention safer roads and cleaner drinking water, and other hypothetical benefits).
And were the Trump administration really to go through with a substantial infrastructure bill, it would truly upend politics, making the GOP at least in part the party of "tax and spend," and breaking with decades of small (when convenient) government orthodoxy.
But it is looking like orthodoxy may - big surprise - triumph over Donald J. Trump's independent streak, as the infrastructure bill is likely being pushed off for the time being.
There are some legitimate (or at least legitimate-sounding) reasons for pushing the bill off:
The idea would be to take up infrastructure in an election year and make it very difficult to oppose money for home-state roads, bridges and other projects that lawmakers can take credit for. It also would make sense procedurally given we expect the money to pay for infrastructure will largely come through tax reform and deemed repatriation of overseas earnings with a one-time tax.
Again the legislative strategy is still evolving and such a timeline would run counter to what GOP leaders laid out last month in their Philadelphia retreat, but the calendar is beginning to look crowded and infrastructure has always been less of a priority for Republican leaders on Capitol Hill than it has been for Trump.
But I'm guessing there might be further legitimate reasons to push infrastructure spending off when 2018 rolls around. Just an educated guess.
And what about this sentence: "It also would make sense procedurally given we expect the money to pay for infrastructure will largely come through tax reform and deemed repatriation of overseas earnings with a one-time tax." Ok, so how about tax reform? How's that looking?
Well, according to this blog post, House Republicans are getting ready to push for a $1 trillion border tax adjustment, but Senate Republicans hate that plan (while having no plan of their own). Within the Trump administration itself, Steve Bannon, who according to rumor might be out the door at the NSC soon, favors the border tax adjustment, but economic advisor Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin aren't fans. For what its worth, Mnuchin claims tax reform will get done by this August.
So maybe tax reform will get done, bringing in the money to make the infrastructure plan possible - politically possible, that is. Honestly, we could go ahead and pull the trigger on a $1 trillion infrastructure plan now. If America is hurting as badly as Trump and company have depicted it as hurting, then surely a big infrastructure plan is a matter of some urgency? It's not like we haven't successfully engaged in deficit spending before, in recent history. Some procedural hoops may need to be lept through, but given all the maverick-ness that's transpired so far, what's the big deal?
In other tax news, Paul Ryan et al. are trying to kill the state-managed retirement plan. This is standard GOP orthodoxy at its finest. Keep that wicked government away from people's hard-earned dough! The private sector is so much more efficient than the public sector, after all! Right? Right?