Trump made comments about crumbling US infrastructure in his recent State of the Union speech. He called for a massive overhaul of the US infrastructure and a huge spending bill to make that happen. When I first heard this I was elated as must would be who have lived in the US. Trump is wrong on an astounding number of things, but he got this one right. US infrastructure is in shambles. The most recent report card the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the US a D+. For arguably the richest country in the history of the world this is completely unacceptable. So while I disagree with Trump on almost everything I thought that this may be one area where I would be willing to back him. However, of course this couldn’t last long.
In his speech Trump calls for $1.5 trillion, this is not an unreasonable sum of money when you think about not only the condition of the bridges and road in America, but also the lack of and general decrepitude of our public transportation. This is all without mentioning that many communities in the US are still drinking water poisoned with lead, which is a story that seems to have just faded away. Listening to Trumps speech there is one line that sticks out. He is speaking about how by “partnering with state and local governments, and where appropriate tapping into private sector investment…” in order to fix our infrastructure. Can anyone spot what doesn’t belong here.
Anyone who has driven on a toll road and tell you that it’s generally smooth, but it’s almost not worth it to pay everyday just to drive on a road, especially when you already pay taxes to the government to provide these things for you. Not to mention if you have friends in large cities. I have a friend in New York who could rant for a good hour how ridiculous the price of driving across a single bridge is in NYC. These examples are pretty low-grade when you consider who Trump has in his administration and thus who he may sell your public roads and bridges to.
Everyone knows that Trump filled the swamp he said he would drain. One of the swamp monsters that Trump brought is Gary Cohn. Cohn is the former president of Goldman Sachs, who was given $285 million as an exit bonus. Don’t you wish you could get paid to quit a job, I certainly wish I could. He revived this bounty because his former company knew he would use his newfound influence to push for policies that would benefit this group of swindlers. He got off to a good start with his influence on the new tax bill that will save them untold amounts of money. And of course with his, and other financial elites, presence in the government these criminals need not worry about being held accountable.
One wonder whether or not this is a conflict of interest. Of course it is. With that rather simple question answered it seems that Cohn should recuse himself from dealings which would benefit his former employer. Well, in February Cohn had said he would recuse himself of any dealings that would affect his former employers. However, he is currently heading the white house’s infrastructure policy, which would seem to be in direct contradiction to what he had said to Bloomberg last year.
The Washington post also reported that Cohn said, “Instead of people in cities and states and municipalities coming to us and saying, ‘Please give us money to build a project,’ and not knowing if it will get maintained, and not knowing if it will get built, we say, ‘Hey, take a project you have right now, sell it off, privatize it, we know it will get maintained, and we’ll reward you for privatizing it’.”
I don’t know about you, but I am terrified of this level of open corruption. It seems that politicians,, who have been corrupt for as long as I can remember, feel that they can now be open and brazen about it. While this is disconcerting it could also be a chance to show parts of the electorate who are not as privy to such facts to be informed of this more easily. This goes especially for conservatives who still, though I don’t understand how, think that Trump is an anti-establishment figure.
We can’t allow Goldman to buy and control our government. This not only includes tax policy and the like, but also physical assets such as our roads and bridges. If we sell these public structures to them we move further along the path to being under the direct rule of corporations, though we are nearly there already.