AuthorHightower, Jim
PositionPresident Joe Biden's infrastructure plan

It's time for the United States to go back to the future--a future of true greatness created by a people united in building a strong nation for the common good.

Throughout our history, we've had leaders who dared to do big public projects: Lincoln's fight for a transcontinental railroad and a land-grant college network; Teddy Roosevelt's establishment of our national park system; FDR's electrification of rural areas, creation of social safety nets, and conservation initiatives; Eisenhower's interstate highway system; Truman's GI Bill; John Kennedy's moonshot; and Lyndon Johnson's anti-poverty and civil rights achievements.

It's only during the last forty years, since Ronald Reagan's "government-is-evil" demagoguery, that our Presidents and lawmakers--Democrats as well as Republicans--have shriveled to no-can-do mediocrities, unwilling even to try tackling the nation's big needs.

But--surprise!--here comes Joe Biden, a lifelong go-slow Democrat, unexpectedly rising to the challenge by proposing a get-serious, roll-up-our-sleeves, $2 trillion package of investments to modernize and extend the United States' collapsing infrastructure.

While the President's plan is not as big as it needs to be, neither is it merely more tinkering around the edges, meekly asking the corporate plutocracy to put another coat of paint on our country's structural inadequacies.

Biden's proposal not only repairs roads, bridges, and dams, but also gives a long overdue boost to such needs as rural high-speed broadband Internet, replacing the country's deadly networks of lead water pipes, building clean energy systems, constructing affordable housing, upgrading public transit systems, increasing home health care for the elderly, and providing affordable child care facilities.

Even more transformative than the particular components is Biden's back-to-the-future method of paying for his Rebuild America agenda, by returning to progressive taxation. Instead of the same old no-tax, laissez-fairyland extremism that Washington has practiced for forty years (leading to the deep infrastructure hole we're now in), Biden will at long last demand that multinational corporate behemoths and their greed-fueled uber-rich chieftains stop dodging their tax obligations to the United States.

It's the same fair-taxation policy that funded our interstate highway system and the Space Race--a period of unmatched U.S. productivity and rising living standards for millions of working families.


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