Tag Archives: infrastructure

Entering a dark era

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It pains me to think this, let alone say it out loud.

We have entered a dark, foreboding era where demagoguery and cultism are replacing serious policy discussion.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has replaced the most corrupt, inept, unfit, unqualified individual ever to hold the office of U.S. president. And yet the men and women who would follow Donald J. Trump to the gates of hell have, seemingly, done that very thing.

They are standing as obstructionists to a constructive agenda that President Biden seeks to craft for the nation. What’s even more frightening is that many of the Trumpsters are hiding behind the Big Lie that says the November 2020 election was pilfered from their guy. Thus, they demagogue themselves breathless, implying that Joe Biden isn’t a legitimate president.

Biden says he is willing to compromise with Republicans on the grand infrastructure package he has laid out there. It’s big, man. The GOP leadership in Congress has countered with a significantly smaller package. To be fair, it also represent a significant investment. Biden’s plan starts at $2.2 trillion; the GOP plan starts at $568 billion. President Biden says he is willing and ready to talk to Republicans about finding common ground.

Is the Republican congressional leadership listening to him? Not outwardly. They contend that Biden’s plan is a non-starter. They won’t raise taxes on rich people who saw their tax burden lightened in the 2017 GOP-led tax bill that Trump signed into law.

You want demagoguery? How about the nonsense the GOP keeps spouting about Biden’s “open border policy”? The border isn’t open. We are rounding up undocumented immigrants every hour of every day. Our immigration cops are holding them, trying to process them through a broken immigration system … that Joe Biden inherited.

From my perch out here the loyal opposition doesn’t look all that loyal in that it seems reluctant to negotiate in good faith with a president who seeks to employ those legendary legislative skills built over a professional lifetime in public service.

This is a dark time, folks. So help me I thought I saw flashes of light the day the nation turned Donald Trump out of office.

It must have been an oncoming freight train.

Am I giving up on the new president? Nope. Won’t happen. I intend to keep pushing, pitching and promoting a constructive agenda whenever the moment suits me.

At this moment, it suits me just fine.

POTUS: Someone has to pay for what we need

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden’s many decades in government taught him a hard lesson, which is that everything the government does comes with a cost.

Taxpayers have to foot the bill.

He pushed a COVID relief package through Congress. He now wants to enact an infrastructure overhaul through the legislative body. Both of them together are projected at around $4 trillion.

Ouch … yes? Yes, but here’s the deal: In order to pay for all this, the president seeks to levy taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Now he is talking about an increase in capital gains taxes.

Donald Trump talked about infrastructure deals, too. Nothing happened. Congress didn’t move anything through. The president never articulated a way to pay for whatever it was he wanted done. He seemed to suggest that the tax cuts he rammed through Congress would jumpstart the economy sufficiently so that any major government project would pay for itself.

It didn’t happen. Then the pandemic brought the economy to its knees.

Trump lost his re-election bid and now a new president is trying to craft a workable plan to pay for a massive effort to rebuild our economy.

The tax plan already pushed out there will not increase taxes to a level prior to the cut enacted during the Trump years. It still gives congressional Republicans fits, so they’ll fit it along with everything else that the Democratic president proposes.

Reasonableness be damned!

Arguing over ‘infrastructure’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So, now President Biden and his Republican “friends” in Congress are arguing over how to define “infrastructure.”

Their disagreement means that GOP members of Congress will oppose what Biden wants to do with $2.25 trillion he is proposing as an “infrastructure” package he wants approved by the Fourth of July.

The GOP defines the terms in the traditional manner: roads, bridges, rail lines, airports, seaports. President Biden considers job creation and the care and well being of Americans as part of an infrastructure plan.

Hmm. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who wins the day?

I am going to go with President Biden’s world view.

He wants to pull back some of the corporate tax reduction Congress enacted in 2017. That tax would help pay for the proposal. Republicans don’t want to betray those corporations by forcing them to pay part of the freight.

We are at a stalemate.

Republicans also contend that too little of what Biden wants is going toward those traditional infrastructure needs. They want it scaled back in a big way. President Biden isn’t having any of that.

The package does contain hundreds of billions of dollars for highways, bridges, airport and seaport renovation. It also enhances Internet broadband capability. It also invests in green energy development. Along the way, it intends to put millions of Americans to work.

Is that a bad thing? I don’t think so. It’s a good thing that needs to become law. First, though, we need to get past this disagreement over what constitutes “infrastructure.”

POTUS ready to ‘negotiate’

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden says, to borrow a phrase, that “doing nothing is not an option” with regard to improving our nation’s infrastructure.

However, he has stated his willingness to negotiate with members of Congress over the scope of the tax increases he will insist on to pay for the $2.25 trillion package.

The way I read it is that Biden isn’t casting the proposed 28 percent corporate tax rate in stone. Or, if he is, the president is willing to work with the numbers while the stone is hardening.

He said he is tired of middle Americans getting “fleeced” by a tax structure that gives rich Americans too much of a break while foisting the tax burden on the not so wealthy. He accused Republicans in Congress and Donald Trump of doing that when they approved the 2017 tax cut over the objection of Democrats in the House and Senate. Biden is prepared to play the same partisan game to get his infrastructure plan enacted.

However, he is willing to wiggle around a little on the tax burden he insists must be borne by those who can afford it.

I am OK with that. Just get something done to fix our roads, bridges, airports, seaports and Internet.

Bipartisanship? It’s toast!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

This pearl of wisdom came from a noted progressive commentator,  the brilliant Rachel Maddow.

She writes: Now that Mitch McConnell has made clear that no Republican will vote for the infrastructure bill, there is now no reason for Democrats to waste time trying to do the ultimately futile thing they might otherwise do of trying to make Republicans happy while compromising the bill, all in the hopes of picking up a few Republican votes.

The grown-ups can now work among themselves to craft a better bill.

Maddow is host of a show on MSNBC. She acknowledges per progressive political credentials. That all said, I am afraid she has spoken a brutal truth about President Biden’s search for unity and bipartisanship in our federal government.

Biden wants to enact a $2.25 trillion infrastructure package. He won’t get any Republican support for a project that in an earlier, more perfect, time would have transcended partisan political concerns.

This one won’t get there.

What, then, is the Democratic president to do? President Biden is left to deploy his partisan pals in both congressional chambers. They will get some version of the infrastructure package approved.

I wish them well. I want the bill to become law. We need to build things again. We need to put people back to work. If congressional Republicans don’t want to sign on to this monumental legislation, well … so be it.

Polling data: What does it say?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Public opinion polling has been vilified over the course of recent election cycles, frankly for reasons that astound me.

Major public opinion polls actually had the 2016 presidential election called correctly when they had Hillary Clinton edging Donald Trump; they didn’t foresee the so-called “inside straight” that propelled Trump into the presidency on the basis of his narrow Electoral College victory.

They also called the 2020 presidential election correctly, giving Joe Biden a victory in both the ballot count and the Electoral College.

Still, the critics keep lambasting those polls.

Here we are today. President Biden pitched a massive COVID-19 relief bill that had significant public support. He got it enacted over the objection of every single Republican member of Congress … in both chambers!

Biden is back at it. He now has an even larger package on the table, a $2.25 trillion infrastructure reform package. The public response? Even greater than it was with the COVID relief package. The congressional Republican reaction? Precisely the same as the GOP resistance to lending a hand to those suffering from the economic wreckage brought by the pandemic.

Who, again, is on the right side?

It is looking to me as though the Republican congressional leadership and rank-and-file are not listening to the individuals they represent. They are ignoring the wishes of those who put them into office. The public favors rebuilding our roads, highways, bridges, ports (sea and air) and in buttressing our Internet broadband capability.

What’s going on here? Is the GOP political class listening exclusively to a narrow portion of its constituency? I am left to wonder if congressional Republicans will pay a political price when the midterm election rolls around next year.

They damn near should pay it!

Public opinion polling isn’t a perfect barometer of the national mood. However, it is far more accurate than its critics are wiling to admit. The GOP needs to pay attention.

‘Infrastructure’ needs redefining

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Here’s a thought or two about “infrastructure.”

If we’re going to talk about it, let us broaden its scope beyond simply roads, bridges, highways, airports, seaports and rail lines.

Let’s also talk about energy production, not to mention the development of new sources of energy and Internet research to broaden our power infrastructure.

President Biden is trying to sell a $2.2 trillion infrastructure package that he is calling a “jobs bill.” He intends for it to produce millions of jobs over the next several years. Biden calls it a “generational” approach to improving our nation’s infrastructure.

To no one’s surprise, he is getting hammered from both political extremes. Republicans dislike the bill because it raises corporate taxes to help pay for it. Progressive Democrats don’t like it because it doesn’t go far enough; they want to spend even more than what the president is proposing.

Both extremes are all wet. They are mistaken.

Joe Biden says no one who earns less than $400,000 a year will see a tax increase. That doesn’t satisfy the GOP caucus in Congress, which rammed through a huge corporate tax cut during the first year of the Trump administration. What they never tell us is that President Biden’s proposed corporate tax rate — 28 percent — is still less than what it was before the Donald Trump tax cut took effect. Fiddlesticks!

On the other side, the far lefties among the Democrat want to spend $10 trillion. That’s 10 trillion bucks, man! Where in the world are they planning to come up with the revenue to pay for that kind of price tag? If they intend to tax middle-income Americans as well as the richest of us, well, good luck with that one.

I am growing weary of hearing Republicans say that too little of the president’s plan deals with “infrastructure.” I differ with them on that complaint. If you factor in all the jobs created by developing clean energy and, oh yes, broadband Internet capability then the infrastructure package seems about right.

Republicans remain too wedded to an outdated notion of what comprises “infrastructure.” I am willing to redefine the term to fit a growing and changing 21st-century world.

Bipartisanship withering away

REUTERS/Mike Blake

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

It’s becoming clearer by the day, if not the hour, that President Biden’s stated wish to conduct a bipartisan government policy is being tossed aside.

Congressional Republicans accuse Biden of talking a good game about working with the GOP, but acting in a highly partisan, far-left manner.

The $2.25 trillion infrastructure bill that Biden wants enacted by the Fourth of July is drawing plenty of hits from the GOP. Why? They don’t want to raise taxes on the rich folks who got that big tax cut during the Trump administration … or so they say.

Republicans don’t think Biden really wants to work with them | TheHill

Let’s flash back for a brief moment to 2009. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his No. 1 priority then was to make Barack Obama a “one-term president.” That meant he sought to make Joe Biden a one-term vice president. Do you think the current president of the United States has forgotten that solemn pledge? Hah! Hardly.

Still, President Biden’s inaugural speech included lots of talk about unity. He would seek it. He would work with Republicans. He wanted to bridge the political chasm.

It hasn’t happened. Nor, I am fearful, does it appear to be gaining traction as the debate ensues over the infrastructure plan. Biden didn’t get a lick of GOP support for his COVID-19 relief bill, despite overwhelming public support for it.

Indeed, he has the proverbial wind at his back on rebuilding roads, bridges, rail lines, airports, water systems and Internet access. The public backs his notion on that, too.

So, who among our political leaders is out of step with those of us out here who want to see government doing things for us? Is it President Biden and congressional Democrats? Or is it the Republican caucus that continues to obstruct because they still might be angry at losing their majority in Congress along with the White House?

POTUS looks for patriots

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden is striving mightily to appeal to our love of country while pitching hard for a massive new program aimed at repairing, restoring and reviving our nation’s infrastructure.

He is running — so far, at least — into a partisan wall erected by Republicans who comprise the so-called “loyal opposition.”

Biden wants to spend at least $2 trillion on repairing our nation’s roads, highways, bridges, rail lines, airports, water delivery systems, all while improving Internet service.

It’s the patriotic thing to do, he said this week in a speech in Pittsburgh. The president is right, but … hold on! Republicans say it’s too costly. They don’t want to pay for it by increasing taxes on millionaires and others who got a huge tax cut from Donald J. Trump and the GOP-led majorities in both congressional chambers.

Joe Biden proposes to increase the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28 percent. Here’s the deal, though: The 28-percent tax rate proposed by the president is still less than what it was before Trump and his Trumpkins slashed the rate to 21 percent.

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell calls President Biden’s proposal a “Trojan horse” that is actually full of too many perks for the “far left wing” of the Democratic Party. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the unofficial leader of the House progressive movement, doesn’t think the president goes far enough. She wants to spend at least — I hope you’re sitting down for this — $10 trillion. To which I say: Holy crap, AOC! Are you out of your mind?

So, the president’s search for patriots among us is running into resistance from the far left and the far right. Meanwhile, the vast moderate middle, which polls suggest supports what the president wants to do, is being kicked around while the extremists fight it out on the edges.

Go figure.

Go big or go home

REUTERS/Mike Blake

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden appears to have adopted the theory that it is best to just “go big … or go home.” 

Thus, we have just witnessed the latest rollout of a massive economic recovery effort launched by the nation’s newest president. It is, as Joe Biden once whispered to President Obama after enactment of the Affordable Care Act, a “big fu**ing deal.” 

It is going to cost a lot of money, around $2 trillion. Yep, that’s trillion with a “t.” It exceeds the cost of the COVID-19 relief package that Biden managed to push through Congress.

NBC News reports that Biden has pitched “a sweeping proposal that would rebuild 20,000 miles of roads, expand access to clean water and broadband and invest in care for the elderly.

Speaking at a carpenters training facility in Pittsburgh, Biden urged Congress to act on his proposal, called the American Jobs Plan, arguing that failing to make the investments would contribute to a weakening middle class and leave the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage abroad.

“I am proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth,” Biden said. “It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago.”

The plan would create millions of jobs, Biden said, and jump-start the fight against climate change. The proposal, which would be spent out over eight years, would be paid for over 15 years by raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, ending the Trump-era tax cuts.

Biden unveils sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure plan (nbcnews.com)

Is the Democratic president going to get any support from his Republican friends in both congressional chambers? Do not hold y our breath on that one. Already they are carping. So, too, are Democratic progressives, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said the Biden infrastructure bill doesn’t go far enough.

AOC needs to pipe down. It’s a huge deal. President Biden is planting his hope on the jobs that this major reconstruction effort will bring. In a way it reminds many longtime observers of the bold approach that a Republican president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had when he proposed building the nation’s massive interstate highway system. Ike sold the highway plan as a national security imperative. Joe Biden wants the nation to battle climate change with the same level of ferocity.

I am acutely aware of the up-front cost of this massive project. I also am willing to invest in that effort if it allows us to put millions of Americans to work, allowing them to achieve their dreams and allow the nation to deal head-to-head with our worldwide competitors.

You go, Joe! I’m all in!