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Trump's Infrastructure Plan a Boon for Private Interests
Many have worried about America’s loss of strength in building infrastructure (link) and have concerns that the country's infrastructure costs continue to ratchet up out of proportion with other nations. In proposing a great expansion of the country's infrastructure through loans to private companies, the Trump Administration has what it hopes is a solution to both problems. "Trump and Bannon’s apparent rejection of neoliberal orthodoxies, including fiscal austerity and free trade, inspired hope that progressives might actually be able to negotiate with Trump on a small number of economic issues—if they could avoid collaborating in an otherwise racist, reactionary agenda," Rebecca Burns writes for In These Times.
The idea of bringing more private ownership to the U.S. infrastructure is not new and has been forwarded by some in the Democratic Party. But the Trump Administration seems poised to expand beyond areas explored in the past. "The President announced a 'great new era in American aviation,' meaning he was asking Congress to privatize the air-traffic control system," Burns writes.
Who is pushing to take the job of upgrading infrastructure out of government hands? Lobbyists. "Among the industry groups that have lobbied the administration and Congress on an infrastructure overhaul so far this year, according to federal lobbying disclosures, are BlackRock, the world’s largest investment management company; the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a Wall Street trade group; American Water, a private water company; two private tolling companies; and free-market proselytizer Heritage Action for America," Burns writes. This boon to Wall Street would make the building of bridges no cheaper and limit the power of the users of these bridges to have a say over them.