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The Trumpquake
Will Trump’s Infrastructure Bill Be a Blue Model Boondoggle?
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  • Wayne Lusvardi

    Great article. If Trump just funds another infrastructure program it will be a boondoggle because states and contractors will just bid high and run up change orders because they don’t have to pay for it directly and costs will be socialized over the entire US. There are several ways to combat such abuses such as matching funds and relaxing bidding rules to allow competition between union and non-union contractors. Another big problem is that big infrastructure projects will just put union employees to work not the private sector working class that has been left out of the picture. Building bridges and roads won’t employ the non-participating labor force. A possibility in California would be to explore urban stormwater capture projects at the local level, albeit that stormwater capture is one of the most expensive modes of producing potable water and would involve the use of unpopular eminent domain to acquire urban infill stormwater basin sites.

    • Andrew Allison

      He who pays the piper. I would hope that if the Federal government is paying the piper, it would call the tune. i.e. repeal Bacon-Davis (apologies for the repetition), bonuses for beating completion and cost targets and severe penalties for not doing so.

      • f1b0nacc1

        In point of fact, since Trump will be the one making the proposals, and the GOP controlled House will be allocating the funds, let the Dems try to stop an Infrastructure bill that makes the unions take it in the shorts. After decades of whining about infrastructure as a national emergency, the Dems would be in a very ugly position should they try to bail out their union buddies by stopping the legislation.

        • Andrew Allison

          If the bill is expressly anti-Union, the Dems will have to oppose it.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Absolutely….and what better way for them to discredit themselves than to be seen as rejecting critical infrastructure needs to protect their union paymasters. Short of FG, you will find very few people willing to swallow that…

          • Andrew Allison

            You mean they haven’t sufficiently discredited themselves with their support of the absolutely disgraceful reaction to the election result? I wonder how many undecideds and thinking Dems (assuming that’s not an oxymoron) have been moved to the right by this disgusting display?

          • f1b0nacc1

            Some perhaps, but lets not kid ourselves….tribal ties are very hard to break. The best way I can think of to destroy those ties is to force the thinking Dems to confront the likes of FG and recognize that this is where the party is going if they don’t do something about it.

          • Andrew Allison

            Although the die is not yet cast, the signs are that the party is moving toward, rather than away from FG.

          • f1b0nacc1

            I absolutely agree….and let him and his ilk inherit the remains. Many will flee, and if the GOP (or some other party) is smart, they will find a way to welcome them. Parties are organizations, it is the people in them that matter. If the Democratic party is taken over by fools like FG, that is their misfortune. We have already seen this in Britain with Corbyn and his crowd seizing control of Labour…. I suspect that a decade in the wilderness might be a wonderful way to help introduce them to reality….

          • Andrew Allison

            I doubt it. Socialism (another name for fascism) has been successfully ignoring reality since its inception. Despite the endless empirical evidence that it just doesn’t work, the beat goes on.

          • f1b0nacc1

            True enough, and I don’t expect that the true believers (FG and his ilk) are possible to save, or even worth saving. However….there are a whole lot of other voters out there who may get the message, and I suspect that some of them (perhaps more than some) might do so. After all, if socialism was such an easy sell, HRC would likely be president already…

          • Andrew Allison

            The snake oil used to sell socialism (we’ll give you free stuff) is both seductive and addictive, witness the Black and other welfare vote. Interestingly, as the recent election demonstrated (to the panic of the DNC) some Union members are recognizing it for what it is.

        • Boritz

          Ted Kennedy taught me to never doubt the unaccountability of Democrats. He opposed every tax cut that was ever considered by the Senate on his watch always claiming that he loved tax cuts and was in fact anxious to pass a tax cut, just not the one that was currently under consideration. He would be the very first on board as soon as as worthy tax cut was prooposed. This play from the play book will work just fine to oppose any infrastructure plan tne Democrats don’t like.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Teddy was a Kennedy from MA, that meant that he never had any real concerns about elections, and thus pretty much followed his own instincts, bestial though they were. An increasing percentage (but decreasing number) of Democrats fall into this category, but they have less and less influence.

  • Disappeared4x

    Will DJT find out how Obama fast-tracked construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge (still not funded, but definitely under construction):

    “…The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council added the Tappan Zee Bridge to its list of projects eligible for federal funds in August
    2012.[12] The United States Department of Transportation approved the plan on September 25, 2012. The approval process took fewer than 10 months as opposed to the traditional multi-year process as a result of being placed on a “fast track” for approval by the Obama Administration.[13]…”

    [13] is citation that no longer exists. Hmmm…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Tappan_Zee_Bridge

    And, then there are the Trump precedents, Wollman Skating Rink in Central Park, and Trump Golf Links Ferry Point, The Bronx

    http://www.nytimes.com/1986/06/07/nyregion/trump-to-rebuild-wollman-rink-at-the-city-s-expense-by-dec-15.html
    TRUMP TO REBUILD WOLLMAN RINK AT THE CITY’S EXPENSE BY DEC. 15 By SUZANNE DALEY
    Published: June 7, 1986

    “…The developer Donald J. Trump will rebuild the Wollman Memorial Skating Rink in Central Park at the city’s expense under an agreement announced yesterday by Mayor Koch.

    The agreement calls for Mr. Trump to complete the work by Dec. 15 and to make no profit. The price is still under negotiation, city
    officials said, but they estimated it at $2.5 million.

    Once the price is set, Mr. Trump will be responsible for completing the reconstruction of the problem-plagued rink within that budget.

    ‘A Very Good Deal’
    ”If it costs less, we’ll pay less,” Mr. Koch said. ”If it costs more, he’ll pay. It sounds like a very good deal, depending, of course,
    on which side you’re standing on.”

    Mr. Trump had originally offered to rebuild the rink at his own expense if the city would let him operate it and an adjacent
    restaurant and use the profits to recoup his costs. …”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304330904579137772016610180

    “In the Bronx, New Golf Course Trumps a Dump: Links Course at Ferry Point Hopes to Lure Major Tournaments ”

    By Stephanie Wei Oct. 15, 2013 8:39 p.m. ET

    “The story of the new golf course in Ferry Point Park is beset with a complex history that includes lengthy delays and exorbitant
    costs—hurdles familiar to any New Yorker with a big plan. Now, 12 years, several contractors, and more than $100 million after the course was initially scheduled to open, the construction of all 18 holes is finally complete thanks to the unlikely partnership of Mayor Michael Bloomberg,Donald Trump and Jack Nicklaus. …”

    http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/333-13/mayor-bloomberg-completion-construction-golf-course-ferry-point-park/#/0

    Mayor Bloomberg Announces Completion of Construction of Golf Course at Ferry Point Park October 16, 2013

    ‘…It is constructed on a former municipal landfill and reflects the City’s continuing commitment to remediate former brownfields and
    expand the public’s access to the waterfront. This also marks the completion of a complex decommissioning project that has been on the docket for more than 60 years, and fulfillment of a request first made by the local community more than 30 years ago. …

    [Jack Nicklaus:] “…Donald Trump has a deep-rooted love for New York City and he deserves a great deal of credit for getting Ferry Point to the finish line and for delivering it to the golfers and golf fans of New York.” …”

    View from Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point, in the Bronx, Jim Mandeville/Nicklaus Design

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c0615065b6b0dd3da7c379cfed707a7d44ddaf99801acc98203ad2020de4a9c7.jpg

  • Andrew Allison

    You appear to have overlooked the fact that the President-elect has decades of experience in construction projects. Aside from repeal of Bacon-Davis, I would hope that the infrastructure projects initiated by the Federal government would include bonuses for better-than on-time and under-cost projects and severe penalties for what we have become used to.

    • Jim__L

      That depends entirely on whether Trump figures it’s better for Trump if he cuts through all the bull***t that makes these projects to expensive and time-consuming, or if he figures it’s better for Trump if all the contractors just feather their nests as they always have.

      Personally, I think there’s a nonzero chance that The Donald’s ego would push him to choose Option 1.

  • FriendlyGoat

    1) Trump, the man, is going to absolutely, positively want to get some kind of visible building or refurb going SOMEWHERE and quickly. This is “what he does” and his desire to present an optical image on this is probably not going to vanish.

    2) McConnell and Ryan will be presenting gargantuan high-end tax cuts as the Republican priority because that is “what the party does”.

    3) Deficit hawks will be told that giving infrastructure at least a breadbox of deficit spending is their duty to obtain a boxcar of deficit “spending” on tax cuts——- and to SHUT UP AND DO BOTH. Dynamic scoring will reach new heights of absurdity in the fastest “analyses” ever seen.

    4) Public polls indicate that citizens expect more health care for less money to be the #1 Priority—–but never mind, that one is impossible.

    5) Evangelicals will snowed for all of it as they are invited to see nothing but a new anti-Roe appointment for SCOTUS.

    6) Hard to imagine, but Trump might actually sign the significant reduction or complete elimination of his own Estate Tax by Memorial Day.
    Much will be made of him foregoing $399,999 in presidential salary to relieve his family of billions in liability.

  • ljgude

    I don’t know if any of you saw Trump testify before Congress on the funding for the refurbishment of the UN building and associated costs. He explained in terms that anyone could understand that the UN wanted to spend way more than was needed and neither the Congressional committee members nor the UN people in the hearing had the slightest interest in listening to the way someone intimately familiar with how to minimize costs in such a situation explain how it could be done for about a third the money (from memory). He didn’t get upset – he just explained how it could and should be done. Put it this way – if he gets his infrastructure program through I will be sorely disappointed if turns into a boondoggle.

  • david russell

    If the past is anything to go by, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Remember those shovel ready jobs that turned out not to exist? It’s going to be a long slog and not much can happen quickly. Plans have to be made. Workers who don’t exist need to be found or trained. Projects will be handed out politically (i.e, by state and more to states that are Republican).

    However, it will create a positive vibe.

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