Lion of the Blogosphere

In this case, Bernie is right, Trump’s plan is wrong

with 65 comments

Here’s an article at Vox.

At first, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s tone with Donald Trump was conciliatory: “To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him,” he said in a statement after Election Day.

Then he saw Trump’s infrastructure plan.

Sanders’s tone changed; he tweeted that the president-elect’s plan for infrastructure is a “scam,” …

This is yet another case in which Trump says something that sounds very un-Republican (in this case that he wants to rebuild infrastructure, but in the past he said stuff about taxes and healthcare which also seemed un-Republican), but then one of his conservative hacks gets at it and turns it into standard business-as-usual conservative-libertarian stuff.

Trump should bring Bernie into the White House as an economics adviser, and come up with some more centrist plans based on Bernie’s economic ideas. Yeah, just wishful thinking on my part, probably won’t happen.

* * *

“Peter Akuleyev” explains in a comment:

Maybe not a scam, but Trump’s plan is pure libertarianism, which is not what most Trump supporters thought they were voting for. In most countries – China, Japan, Singapore, Germany – the government finances infrastructure projects that don’t generate profits but that will make the country more productive and more attractive for private investment in other areas of the economy. Examples would be sewer systems, bridges on non-toll roads, public transportation, regional airports, even high speed rail. That is what Bernie is talking about doing. Trump’s plan is not that, it is just offering massive tax breaks to private investors willing to build infrastructure for a profit, which means his plan is not going to encourage anyone to fix bridges on rural highways or clean up Flint’s water supply but it will effectively privatize a nice chunk of the US infrastructure.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 21, 2016 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Politics

65 Responses

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  1. Bernie says it’s a scam . You say you agree with him. It would be nice if you said what you didn’t like about it. I don’t know anything about it so Bernie’s comment and your post are meaningless.

    destructure

    November 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    • You could read the rest of the article at Vox.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 21, 2016 at 8:59 pm

      • I did after I posted the comment. Still, the post should have given a brief mention for why you think it’s a scam. Just because Bernie points out some things that sound like a scam doesn’t mean it is. Maybe he’s lying. Maybe he’s cherry picking and the bulk of the plan is good. How would we know? Neither of us have read the bill and never will. So should we believe the Democrat? I don’t know.

        destructure

        November 21, 2016 at 9:09 pm

      • Lion you really should have had some examples. For all we know grandpa schlomo Simpson doesn’t like the plan because the jobs will all go to blue collar white men.

        OldTimer

        November 21, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      • Krugman makes a much better case than Sanders:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/21/opinion/build-he-wont.html

        In terms of things that ain’t gonna happen I would much rather he reached out to Krugman on economics than Sanders.

        Magnavox

        November 22, 2016 at 1:10 am

    • Bernie is a fraud and he should refund the money his campaign took in from so many small donors.

      If Bernie wanted to influence Trump’s infrastructure plan, he should have contacted Trump and asked to meet with him to discuss it. Trump met with Tulsi Gabbard; he would have met with Bernie too.

      Bernie just likes to showboat.

      David Pinsen

      November 22, 2016 at 4:38 am

      • Bernie is an impotent loser. I voted dem this election but between Trump and Bernie I will pick Trump every time. Bernie followers need to go back to parents basement.

        Wt

        November 23, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    • Maybe not a scam, but Trump’s plan is pure libertarianism, which is not what most Trump supporters thought they were voting for. In most countries – China, Japan, Singapore, Germany – the government finances infrastructure projects that don’t generate profits but that will make the country more productive and more attractive for private investment in other areas of the economy. Examples would be sewer systems, bridges on non-toll roads, public transportation, regional airports, even high speed rail. That is what Bernie is talking about doing. Trump’s plan is not that, it is just offering massive tax breaks to private investors willing to build infrastructure for a profit, which means his plan is not going to encourage anyone to fix bridges on rural highways or clean up Flint’s water supply but it will effectively privatize a nice chunk of the US infrastructure.

      Peter Akuleyev

      November 22, 2016 at 4:51 am

      • Thank you.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 22, 2016 at 9:01 am

      • The problem with all of this infrastructure planning and development is that it is predicated on sustaining the currently large and growing US population, said growth largely influenced by immigration. If you are steadily going to remove these immigrants and then slow the growth caused by immigration, then how much infrastructure development do you need?

        map

        November 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm

  2. What about the plan is wrong? No, I’m not going to click on the Vox link.

    peterike

    November 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm

  3. Trump should bring Bernie into the White House as an economics adviser.

    Maybe he could also bring in Jane Sanders for help as well. She did a great job with that college.

    What has Bernie Sanders ever done to show economic knowledge. Other than throw $200 million dollars of other people’s money down the drain against Clinton.

    Trump’s plan might be wrong and anything influenced by autistic Libertarians is a bad idea but I think Trump needs to find better advisors than Bernie Sanders.

    Rifleman

    November 21, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    • Trump need bridges to the other side, that’s politics. And Bernie will never be a Trojan Horse the way some GOPe types might be (because no one will trust Bernie), which makes him a lot less dangerous to have around.

      Furthermore, a true populist revolution–not just barely winning two swing states–requires Trump bring more people into his tent.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 21, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      • Giving special interests what they want is a great way to bring more people into his tent.

        destructure

        November 21, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      • Trump need bridges to the other side, that’s politics.

        In a radio interview Larry Kudlow says part of the infrastructure plan involves building out gas and oil pipelines and processing facilities.

        It’s good politics because Trump can reward his new Rust Belt constituents with government contracts.

        Economically Hamilton, Lincoln, and Henry Clay would have all agreed with Trump on fossil fuel infrastructure.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        November 21, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      • Giving special interests what they want is a great way to bring more people into his tent.

        No that’s a way to get money not a way to get actual voters.

        Magnavox

        November 21, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      • Frankly Lion, I’m surprised that you take Vox at face value. This is only one aspect of the plan. Trump also plans to fix water systems that potentially have lead and repair 60,000 bridges. Bernie has been gotten to since his first conciliatory thoughts and is using this as an excuse for Democratic opposition to any infrastructure bill. The Vox story is the scam here.

        Mike Street Station

        November 22, 2016 at 6:26 am

      • No that’s a way to get money not a way to get actual voters.

        Do you need to play Devil’s advocate in every post?

        The Democratic party is a giant money-for-votes slush fund.

        Yes, government contracts can buy votes for entire regions of the country – go ask a campaign consultant who work in the South where military spending is a fixture of the region’s economy how far a Republican will get in a primary if he promises to cut the Defense budget in half.

        If Trump awards infrastructure contracts to Rust Belt construction companies he will have prole whites there eating out of his hand by the midterms.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        November 22, 2016 at 7:09 pm

  4. There’s so much rivalry and overall disagreeableness between politicians, that whatever they do, is done at the expense of us.

    JS

    November 21, 2016 at 9:03 pm

  5. The whole political system is a fucking scam. The fact that a new president can just come in and repeal everything the last president did means the US is constantly in flux. There’s hardly any predictability to the system. Hell, Trump promises to overturn Roe v Wade. Don’t people see anything wrong with a system that gives so much power to a single man? No other major country works this way.

    Deal with it!

    November 21, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    • The problem isn’t that a new president can repeal a previous president’s executive orders. The problem is that the previous president abused his power to issue executive orders in the first place.

      destructure

      November 21, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    • Trump promises a greater America for everyone, which sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

      Theory looks good on paper, in the case of politicians, sugarcoating with words.

      JS

      November 21, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    • Nonsense. China does. So does Russia. And arguably many alleged democracies like Turkey, where the checks and balances are really just for show. The problem with a concentration of power isn’t that it’s authoritarian, it’s that a leftist might get his hands on it.

      Jason Liu

      November 22, 2016 at 7:08 am

  6. I completely disagree with Bernie (although Trump will have to compromise). Look, it’s cliche but true: Politicians prefer cutting ribbons to sweeping brooms. In other words, they love they large infrastructure projects but hate paying for them. That’s why our infrastructure has fallen into complete disrepair. It’s REALLY expensive to maintain in a 1st world country.

    Most of these proposals are common practice in Northern European countries, which have high standards of infrastructure. In fact, it’s the only way they can afford it. Look, roads need to be tolled directly, which provide a stream of user fees.

    Here is the full proposal: http://www.peternavarro.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/infrastructurereport.pdf

    It is true that dedicated revenue streams will not completely cover an infrastructure plan. It will have to be balanced. But it most certainly is not a scam.

    JerseyGuy

    November 21, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    • ” It’s REALLY expensive to maintain in a 1st world country.”

      How does Japan do it?

      gothamette

      November 21, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      • Japan is 99.99% Japanese or a percentage close to it.

        JS

        November 21, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      • About 99% Japanese, 0.9% Korean.

        Peregrino Nuzkwamia

        November 21, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      • No, I meant how do they maintain it taxwise?

        gothamette

        November 21, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      • Hint: High IQ & high trust societies operate on resource efficiency.

        Just look at our wasteful tax dollars thrown at low IQ primitives that infest America.

        JS

        November 21, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      • Anyone here who’s a guitar player understands that guitars made in Japan are of high quality, despite being manufactured with lower grade wood. The craftsmanship far exceeds any custom made work done here in the states by our craftsmen that would cost thousands of dollars, where as in Japan, such labor costs only a few hundred.

        JS

        November 21, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      • Japan has toll roads. The railway companies are private sector, but they went bankrupt some years ago and had to be rescued and restructured, with the government taking on the debt.

        Peregrino Nuzkwamia

        November 21, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    • Do you think that too many 3rd world primitives and NAMs, are what discourage politicians to invest in our infrastructure?

      Liberal cities are expensive for a reason!!!

      JS

      November 21, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    • I think roads shouldn’t get any money from general revenue and should be paid for with things like the gas tax and tolls. That’s not what this is about. Sander’s criticism is that Trump’s plan is a giveaway to big business rather than a rational way to improve infrastructure at the lowest cost. He’s not objecting to tolls.

      How could it possibly make sense to only build new roads and bridges that run in parallel to existing publicly owned ones rather than fixing what we already have? It only makes sense if the goal is to divert as much money as possible away from the public sector and to private enterprise.

      Your file does not mention europe, germany, denmark, sweden, norway, or finland. I don’t have a clue how those countries handle infrastructure. If you have evidence that those countries employ extensive privately owned roads and bridges I would like to see it.

      Magnavox

      November 21, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      • In case it isn’t obvious I don’t really have a clue what Trump’s plan is.

        Magnavox

        November 22, 2016 at 12:23 am

      • Magnavox,

        There are no government construction companies, outside of the Army Corp of Engineers. Every public sector infrastructure project involves private contractors. So, if you are going to do infrastructure, then you will obviously be expanding the private sector.

        Building in parallel to existing structures means you are not affecting the flow of traffic and is a lot faster than refurbishing what exists. What is there to salvage in a 70 year old, rusted-out bridge with unknown structural soundness?

        Think of oil and gas pipelines. Multiple pipelines allow for faster movement of oil and it allows for staggering repairs without affecting the flow of oil and gas.

        map

        November 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm

  7. Trump is a capitalist in Hamilton and Lincoln’s mold, his Trucon/Trulibertarian critics are only marginally better informed than his side of the argument:

    https://pragmaticallydistributed.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/hamilton-against-anarcho-libertarians-hamilton-against-hamilton/

    we offer this refresher definition of capitalistic, libertarian, and liberal economic systems, establish what the role of the government sector should be in each, and refute anarcho-libertarian economics in favor of capitalism:

    Capitalism – In capitalism government actors establish the business rules, conditions and environment common to all private actors, individual private actors are free to make successful or unsuccessful business decisions of any kind within this system so long as they do not violate its rules.

    LibertarianismPrivate actors establish the business rules, conditions and environment common to all private actors, individual private actors are free to make successful or unsuccessful business decisions of any kind within this system so long as they do not violate its rules.

    LiberalismGovernment actors establish the business rules, conditions and environment common to all economic entities, government actors make all individual economic decisions within this system for all economic entities.

    In the case of Hamiltonian Capitalism specifically (and Anglo-Saxon Capitalism generally) the Central government’s role in the private sector is to arrange a common environment of business rules that affect all private actors without favoring individual private actors.

    This Federal role ends when individual private actors then decide what specific business actions to take within the established environment.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    November 21, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    • Trump is a capitalist in Hamilton and Lincoln’s mold, his Trucon/Trulibertarian critics are only marginally better informed than his side of the argument:

      That should be

      Trump is a capitalist in Hamilton and Lincoln’s mold, his Trucon/Trulibertarian critics are only marginally better informed about Hamilton’s politics than the cast of “Hamilton”:

      The Undiscovered Jew

      November 21, 2016 at 9:49 pm

      • What you describe as liberalism would better be described as socialism.

        Peregrino Nuzkwamia

        November 21, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      • What you describe as liberalism would better be described as socialism.

        Socialism is what “liberals” are for even if they evade and insist otherwise when pressed on their true position.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        November 21, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      • Liberals want more government control over the economy. Only a tiny tiny fringe wants complete control.

        Magnavox

        November 21, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      • Oh yes, just ask the liberals what part of the economy they would never, ever want to control (and watch the bullshit fly).

        Glengarry

        November 22, 2016 at 5:27 am

      • Name someone arguing for total government control over the economy. QED.

        You’re just confusing two meaning of the phrase “want to control”, one is want more control and one is want total control.

        Magnavox

        November 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      • What liberals want is a socialism that benefits the bureaucrats. Guys like Bernie Sanders will take all of the land, raw materials, machinery and labor and do with it what they please, while offshoring what they can and importing more scab labor to enervate the population until they can burn it all down and collect the insurance money.

        Bernie and his ilk should be nowhere near government. Look at what his wife did to that college. That is the model for America they have.

        The infrastructure planning should be built around the re-shoring of American industry and the reduction of the foreign population. The foundation is The Wall, both symbolically and physically, along with going after the immigrants that are here. The second is energy, fossil fuel based and something exotic, like thorium. Third, is providing a business environment that at least offsets the costs of re-shoring, so tax breaks and giveaways and loopholes are necessary. We want labor costs to rise, while offsetting those costs elsewhere.

        Finally, the left and it’s commercial interests need to be negated. Anti-trust and regulation should come to play here, otherwise the Bernie Sanders’ of the world will keep popping up.

        map

        November 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      • Liberals want more government control over the economy. Only a tiny tiny fringe wants complete control.

        Even if, purely the sake of argument, I grant that this is true, the left always pushes the economy closest to the pure definition of Liberal economics than either advocates of Capitalism or Libertarianism do, even if they never reach the ideal state.

        Therefore, the level of negative theoretical and real problems associated with that pure model increase in proportion to the amount of power the left has over economic policy.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        November 22, 2016 at 6:56 pm

      • Name someone arguing for total government control over the economy. QED.

        This definition of the three major economic systems is flexible enough to be applied to specific business sectors, instead of an entire economy. Like the healthcare sector which the left famously made a great power grab for in the form of Obamacare, and at which their economic principles in this project proved a spectacular failure.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        November 22, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    • The optimum economic configuration is Nordic social democratic capitalism as espoused by Sanders. It leads to the healthiest people, the wealthiest countries, the least dire poverty, the least working hours for a given amount of wealth and excellent environment, public services and education.

      Sanders knows this intuitively, as do most economists even…the problem is that they won’t admit Nordics achieved this by being racially homogenous. And so we are back to the Vietnamese back alley noodle shop menu above.

      The Philosopher

      November 22, 2016 at 5:16 am

      • It’s not the system…it’s the fact that the system is filled with Nordics that makes it work. They are a high-IQ, high-trust, low nepotism people. They would make any system work because they represent good raw material.

        map

        November 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      • Chicken and egg you might say!

        The Philosopher

        November 22, 2016 at 8:27 pm

  8. Bernie is a cliched relic of a Jewish Communist buffoon.

    All the infrastructure I needs is a WALL.

    fakeemail

    November 21, 2016 at 10:09 pm

  9. The infra plan is basically a Republican donor private finance initiative welfare scheme. Gov builds the roads, leases to some cuck Caymans guy and people pay tolls for 50 years.

    Trump isn’t scamming people. This is a long complicated game. The only way cuckolds will countenance infra spending is this crap. Give Trump time to wipe them out slowly. #Draintheswamp.

    The Philosopher

    November 21, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    • The only way cuckolds will countenance infra spending is this crap.

      Why can’t part of his strategy be to pass certain things with mostly democratic support in congress?

      Magnavox

      November 21, 2016 at 11:40 pm

  10. Any political promise right now is total bullshit right now if it doesn’t go: Yo, we’re broke and you’re all going to be much poorer in five years. It’s going to suck. Trust me to manage the decline as best as possible.

    Good luck getting elected on that.

    bob

    November 21, 2016 at 10:18 pm

  11. Lion, when Trump makes this work, please don’t find a way to take credit for it.

    Andrew E.

    November 21, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    • Trump needs to build the Great Wall, the great infastructure renewal, and launch a $500B public private partnership to create a thorium based energy grid. This would permanently cement his name in history books as the great builder, on par with America’s interstate highway project. It would also secure the American energy supply for 1000 years, which to our current sensibilities is basically forever. If the human race still can’t figure out a better way to extract energy by then, then we deserve to fade into obscurity as just another spec of particles in this great universe.

      If he builds a space elevator that’d be nice to. Then we could have relatively cheap launches into outer space. He’d also take the spotlight away from the Silicon Valley clowns like Elon Musk and put it onto himself. That’d be a nice change from these federally funded mediocrities with good SAT scores.

      OldTimer

      November 21, 2016 at 10:58 pm

  12. Just build the wall already. The roads can wait.

    werk it

    November 21, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    • He’s never going to literally build a wall. It was symbolism. The fact that Mexicans already have tunnels miles long under the border means an actual physical wall makes no fucking sense. The “wall” just has to consist of enforcement of existing laws preventing hiring of illegals, shutting down sanctuary cities, beefing up the border guards and cutting benefits to illegals. It won’t even cost that much.

      Peter Akuleyev

      November 22, 2016 at 4:57 am

      • The wall does make sense. Building tunnels is too dangerous due to cave ins and flooding (which with rats, causes disease). The Wall is also a great stimulus to local state economies and has the added benefit of being a good political ploy.

        The Philosopher

        November 22, 2016 at 9:35 am

  13. All that really matters is that we are spending money, it doesn’t matter what on.

    Recession is coming. We need massive deficit spending to provide a stimulus that will minimize the pain. This is how Japan has kept their economy afloat for the last 20 years.

    Otis the Sweaty

    November 21, 2016 at 11:04 pm

  14. The problem is that Democrats should have regained the Senate, but failed miserably. It’s highly unlikely they will regain it in 2018, given that they’re the ones who will largely be facing reelection, and not the Republicans.

    Most of the political tension up until the presidential race of 2020 will be between Trump and the GOPe, and that’s why Trump has taken steps towards placating the GOPe while keeping his supporters satisfied when selecting a cabinet. I think that Trump would have been more centrist had the Democrats won the Senate, but they’re not going to be much of a factor for him until autumn 2019 or so. By then, he will have pushed much of his agenda while appeasing the GOPe, and will be ready to face off against the Democratic challenger.

    Sid

    November 21, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    • Trump barely won to one of the worst candidates in history who was selected in large part because of an assumed surge of female support that never materialized. If they find a charismatic candidate, especially a black one (for whom there actually will be a surge in votes), he is toast unless he can show that he’s a real populist and not just a scam artist.

      Magnavox

      November 22, 2016 at 1:08 am

      • That’s why it is so important to have Bannon and Stephen Miller in there. They are the brains behind Trump’s populism. Trump’s 100 day plan video made alot of references to “American workers” so it seems like it isn’t letting up.

        JerseyGuy

        November 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

      • “Trump barely won to one of the worst candidates in history who was selected in large part because of an assumed surge of female support that never materialized.”

        It’s the same deal as the jury for the OK Simpson trial: ultimately, racial identity trumps sexual identity.

        “If they find a charismatic candidate, especially a black one (for whom there actually will be a surge in votes), he is toast unless he can show that he’s a real populist and not just a scam artist.”

        It’s far, far too early to predict the 2020 election. A lot of it depends on how well Trump governs and how well the majority of Americans take to his policies.

        Finding a charismatic and successful black politician is easy on paper, but there really aren’t that many of them. Maybe Cory Booker? He comes across as someone who should’ve stayed city mayor.

        People had been looking for someone to be the first black president for decades, and Obama fit the description.

        “That’s why it is so important to have Bannon and Stephen Miller in there. They are the brains behind Trump’s populism. Trump’s 100 day plan video made alot of references to ‘American workers’ so it seems like it isn’t letting up.”

        What’s striking to me is that Bannon would probably agree with massive federal spending on infrastructure. If the Democrats had won the Senate, Bannon would have had more leverage in this area. But since the GOPe held Congress, Trump will have to focus more on tax incentives for private investment in infrastructure – the more libertarian approach.

        “Excellent analysis. They do have the filibuster though. And obviously some republicans are not cuckolded.”

        Thank you. Yes, I agree that the Democrats will be loving the filibuster, though we’ll see how far they will go.

        Sid

        November 22, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    • Excellent analysis. They do have the filibuster though. And obviously some republicans are not cuckolded.

      The Philosopher

      November 22, 2016 at 5:18 am

  15. Basically all infrastructure projects can be to a certain degree “scams” because they involve transfer payments to certain contractors, and politics is almost always involved. Trump’s plan seems to be more of a scam than usual because it also involves extra layers of “private investors” and tax breaks and the privatization of what is supposed to be public infrastructure.

    The least scammiest infrastructure plan would involve the government allowing competitive bidding by contractors for various infrastructure projects and then choosing the best quality and lowest cost contractors and directly disbursing taxpayer money.

    Tom

    November 21, 2016 at 11:50 pm

  16. So Bernie thinks that Trump’s plan is a scam because it does not unduly penalize large corporations? This is what he wrote:

    “During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump correctly talked about rebuilding our country’s infrastructure. But the plan he offered is a scam that gives massive tax breaks to large companies and billionaires on Wall Street who are already doing phenomenally well. … Unlike Trump’s plan, which creates new tax loopholes and is a corporate giveaway, my Rebuild America Act would be paid for by eliminating tax loopholes that allow hugely profitable multinational corporations to stash their profits in offshore tax havens around the world.”

    So Bernie’s plan to rebuild America is simply growing government. That is just as much a scam. Bernie is not talking about anything substantive himself.

    map

    November 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm


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