The Biden Infrastructure Plan

Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2021 09:18 am
I thought I'd start a thread just for the infrastructure bill. First, here is the official "FACT SHEET". Here is a breakdown from CNN.

Transportation: $621 billion
Improving roads and bridges is a key part of Biden's infrastructure plan.
Funding improvements to roads, bridges, railways and other infrastructure has been a central piece of Biden's recovery plans. He has said that it will create "really good-paying jobs" and help the nation compete better.

Home care services and workforce: $400 billion
Biden would provide $400 billion to bolster caregiving for aging and disabled Americans.
His plan would expand access to long-term care services under Medicaid, eliminating the wait list for hundreds of thousands of people. It would provide more opportunity for people to receive care at home through community-based services or from family members.

Manufacturing: $300 billion
Biden wants to put $300 billion toward boosting manufacturing.
Under his plan, $50 billion of the money would be invested in semiconductor manufacturing and another $30 billion would go towards medical manufacturing to help shore up the nation's ability to respond to a future outbreak.

Housing: $213 billion
The plan would invest $213 billion toward building, renovating and retrofitting more than two million homes and housing units.
Biden is calling on Congress to produce, preserve and retrofit more than a million affordable and energy efficient housing units. The plan would also build and rehabilitate more than 500,000 homes for low- and middle-income homebuyers.

Research and development: $180 billion
Biden is calling on Congress to invest $180 billion to advance US leadership in critical technologies, upgrade the US's research infrastructure and establish the US as a leader in climate science, innovation and research and development.

Water: $111 billion
Biden's plan allocates $111 billion to rebuild the country's water infrastructure. It would replace all of the nation's lead pipes and service lines in order to improve the health of American children and communities of color. The White House says replacing the pipes would reduce lead exposure in 400,000 schools and childcare facilities.

Schools: $100 billion
Biden calls for $100 billion to build new public schools and upgrade existing buildings with better ventilation systems, updated technology labs, and improved school kitchens that can prepare more nutritious meals.
Another $12 billion would go to states to use towards infrastructure needs at community colleges.

Digital infrastructure: $100 billion
Biden wants to invest $100 billion in order to give every American access to affordable, reliable and high-speed broadband.
The proposal would build a high-speed broadband infrastructure in order to reach 100% coverage across the nation. The plan would aim to promote transparency and competition among internet providers.

Workforce development: $100 billion
The President would allocate $100 billion to workforce development -- helping dislocated workers, assisting underserved groups and getting students on career paths before they graduate high school.

Veterans' hospitals and federal buildings: $18 billion
The plan would provide $18 billion to modernize the Veterans Affairs' hospitals, which are on average more than 40 years older than a private sector hospital, according to the White House.

Here's how Biden plans to pay for it:
Corporate tax hike: Biden would raise the corporate income tax rate to 28%, up from 21%. The rate had been as high as 35% before former President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans cut taxes in 2017.
Global minimum tax: The proposal would increase the minimum tax on US corporations to 21% and calculate it on a country-by-country basis to deter companies from sheltering profits in international tax havens.
Tax on book income: The President would levy a 15% minimum tax on the income the largest corporations report to investors, known as book income, as opposed to the income reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
Corporate inversions: Biden would make it harder for US companies to acquire or merge with a foreign business to avoid paying US taxes by claiming to be a foreign company. And he wants to encourage other countries to adopt strong minimum taxes on corporations, including by denying certain deductions to foreign companies based in countries without such a tax.
Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2021 09:29 am
I've wanted a significant infrastructure plan since the end of the Clinton administration (when we had a budget surplus!) Infrastructure spending in an investment in our country and drives economic growth. Whether it pays for itself directly is a topic that generates a lot of debate (you can Google it), but it is a place where the US has been underspending for decades now. The Biden plan takes a very expansive view of infrastructure and I'm on board. Like government efforts to drive rural electrification and phone service, pushing good infrastructure (not just roads and bridges but Internet access, power grid upgrades, good water systems, etc.) across the entire country is a real win and allows US manufacturing to thrive. It's money well spent. I'm a lot more on board with borrowing for this than for giving rich people tax breaks (which is what Bush ended up doing with that surplus). I'm also really impressed by how Biden has brought energy and priority to the bill. Not sure he's going to get it through, but he's not pushing it half heartedly.
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Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2021 12:58 pm
2 things I'm psyched about and am really hoping for are home care and railways.

Our population is getting older (don't believe me? Then check out the Census report, which just came out this week. The US has more people over the age of 80 than under the age of 2 - see https://www.denverpost.com/2021/04/27/us-census-data-takeaways/ and there are more but you don't need to keep reading the same thing over and over again).

Home care is extraordinarily expensive, and is designed to bankrupt you so you end up warehoused. And... at the start of Covid in particular, nursing homes were horror shows for the elderly. If we care about our aging population at all, then we should overhaul elder and other home care, so people can recover and age in dignity, in familiar surroundings, with the people they know and love.

As for railways, a good rail system will reduce pollution and traffic. It'll also make it possible for certain people to be more/more mobile than ever before -- the blind, people with seizure disorders, people too young to get permits, etc. Railroads can and do still bring in jobs. They are even a win for trucking and car manufacturing -- people will still need to have goods transported locally, and they will still want to have their own flexible transportation options. Adding a good, reliable, modern line from (for example) Chicago to Phoenix won't put Ford or Ryder out of business.
Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2021 01:04 pm
This is the fault of everyone who voted Biden, and when the hyper inflation hits and gas is $10/gallon, I certainly hope that the looters will stop by the houses of the yuppies in the suburbs for "reparations".

Food Prices Are About to Soar Right Alongside Gas and Electricity Costs

In the weeks following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, costs of most of the food items found on the shelves of US grocery stores rose based on anticipated shortages of such items that might result from transportation and logistical problems that followed the shutdown of many parts of the economy. There wasn’t so much a shortage of goods to go on the shelves as there was an anticipated interruption in the “just in time” delivery supply line that keeps such products moving from processes to wholesalers, wholesalers to distributors, and distributors to retailers. As those disruptions were solved — or didn’t happen as feared in many instances — consumer goods and staples reappeared on the store shelves without much difference from the pre-pandemic pricing.

But warning bells are starting to be heard about another impending shortage of consumer goods and food staples as wholesale prices of certain raw materials used in a wide variety of food preparations have risen sharply over the past several weeks. This steady upward price pressure is coming at a time when many fragile economies around the world are not in a position to handle a sharp rise in the cost of food for their populations.

Soaring raw material prices have broad repercussions for households and businesses, and threaten a world economy trying to recover from the damage of the coronavirus pandemic. They help fuel food inflation, bringing more pain for families that are already grappling with financial pressure from the loss of jobs or incomes. For central banks, a spike in prices at a time of weak growth creates an unwelcome policy choice and could limit their ability to loosen policy.

“There seems to be sort of a bullish force behind the prices internationally,” Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, said in an interview. “The indications are that there is very little reason to believe prices would remain at these levels. It’s more likely they will rise further. Hardship is still ahead.”

But early in the pandemic, the increased costs of some food products were offset by a steep drop in energy prices which resulted from enormous reductions in energy consumption as people stayed home rather than traveled.

But with current energy prices soaring, any increase in food costs in the months ahead will be just like pouring gasoline on a fire — excuse the pun.

Gas prices jumped over 9% in the past month and they’re not expected to slow down anytime soon.

Gas prices are up 22.5% from the previous year and were the biggest contributor to an overall increase in goods and services in the nation, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index. Fuel prices pushed a 1-month increase in the overall price of goods for March that was the highest in nearly 9 years.

A recent government report shows gas prices are expected to climb to a three-year high this summer. Prices at the pump will average $2.78 per gallon — up 34% from 2020 — in the next six months, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

But the rising prices for food are being driven not just by increased production costs or cutbacks in farm activity. A big part of the upward pressure on price is the increased presence of one particular country in the world market with plenty of money to spend — China.

The most recent crop spikes follow months of price gains fueled by booming import demand from China. Corn prices have doubled in the past year, while soybeans are up about 80% and wheat 30%. With China’s purchases continuing and a spate of adverse weather conditions threatening crops in Brazil and the U.S., there are few signs of respite. Analysts including those at Rabobank, Mintec and HSBC Global Research all see a risk of even higher prices as a result, though it will vary across markets.

Americans have been able to survive financially for the better part of a year due, to some degree, to a government-provided bubble. Various COVID-19 relief and stimulus programs, combined with such market-altering policies as eviction and foreclosure moratoriums, have sheltered Americans from some of the harsher financial realities of the economic shutdown.

But those costs are going to come due soon for many. It is beginning to look like a triple whammy is about to be visited on American consumers — higher food costs, higher energy prices, and a day of reckoning in having to deal with financial pain that has been only delayed, not eliminated, resulting from the economic shutdown.


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Reply Tue 27 Apr, 2021 01:50 pm
I'm also encouraged about the electric car/truck infrastructure buildout. Having the ability to drive across the country without gasoline will really change the trucking industry (and the amount of pollution it generates). Pair that with the support for renewable energy and we could be looking at a serious win/win type situation. It's also a lot easier to deliver power compared to delivering diesel or gas.
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Reply Mon 17 May, 2021 09:39 pm
We have needed infrastructure renewal for years. So far Biden's plan seems to be getting watered down over much. It should be bigger, not smaller. I hope they come up with a workable plan and get it through congress.
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Reply Thu 27 May, 2021 01:32 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators outlined a $928 billion infrastructure proposal Thursday, a counteroffer to President Joe Biden’s more sweeping plan as the two sides struggle to negotiate a bipartisan compromise and remain far apart on how to pay for the massive spending.

The Republican offer would increase spending by $91 billion on roads and bridges, $48 billion on water resources and $25 billion on airports, according to a one-page summary released by the GOP negotiators. It also would provide for one-time increases in broadband investments, at $65 billion, and $22 billion on rail.

Republicans have rejected Biden’s proposed corporate tax increase to pay for new investments, and instead want to shift unspent COVID-19 relief dollars to help cover the costs.

IMO, we need to figure out how we are going to fund, not just this particular package, but continued infrastructure spending into the future. We definitely need the tax increase to pay for this bill.
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Reply Thu 27 May, 2021 02:04 pm
Wasn't decades of underfunded infrastructure a big reason Texas suffered so much in that power outage?
Reply Thu 27 May, 2021 03:22 pm
Maybe. I'm more inclined to go for lack of foresight.
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Reply Thu 27 May, 2021 03:27 pm
Texas spends as little as possible on projects to help the people. The power grid is a perfect example. They shirked responsibility, made themselves a lot more money, and have done nothing about improving the power grid.
Reply Thu 27 May, 2021 04:13 pm
Yes, that's what I read.
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Reply Thu 27 May, 2021 04:25 pm
Texas, most of it (here we're on the Western power grid), has its own power grid precisely to avoid Federal Regulations, like the winterizing of its infrastructure.

Texplainer: Why Does Texas Have Its Own Power Grid?
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Reply Thu 29 Jul, 2021 02:08 pm
So this is going to happen. Only 20% of the original proposal which is disappointing but still half a trillion in needed infrastructure.

Reply Tue 10 Aug, 2021 01:13 pm
The infrastructure bill is out of the Senate.

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