In a blistering column for the New York Times, Paul Krugman rips apart Donald Trump’s plan to rebuild American infrastructure through billions of dollars of tax credits.
The plan, says Krugman, would provide “billions of dollars in checks written to private companies that invest in approved projects, which they would end up owning.” This works in the interests of these private companies who are seeking profit — not the actual country, which needs repairs to things like sewage systems, levees, public transport infrastructure and bridges. Writes Krugman:
If you want to build infrastructure, build infrastructure. It’s hard to see any reason for a roundabout, indirect method that would offer a few people extremely sweet deals, and would therefore provide both the means and the motive for large-scale corruption. Or maybe I should say, it’s hard to see any reason for this scheme unless the inevitable corruption is a feature, not a bug.
Now, the Trump people could make all my suspicions look foolish by scrapping the private-investor, tax credits aspect of their proposal and offering a straightforward program of public investment. And if they were to do that, progressives should indeed work with them on that issue.
But it’s not going to happen. Cronyism and self-dealing are going to be the central theme of this administration — in fact, Mr. Trump is already meeting with foreigners to promote his business interests. And people who value their own reputations should take care to avoid any kind of association with the scams ahead.
Trump came into office promising to “drain the swamp”. Instead, it looks like we are about to witness the biggest corporate feeding frenzy the country has ever seen.
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Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.