Monday, September 06, 2010

Infrastructure Initiative

The New York Times this morning is reporting that the Obama Administration is going to propose a vast infrastructure project that will call for

as $50 billion in government spending to start up a long-term public works plan emphasizing transportation projects – roads, rail and airport runways – over the next six years.

It further reports that this will be just a piece of his larger economic vision to be laid out at a speech in Cleveland tomorrow. Which is good, because I was under the impression that his Cleveland speech was going to just be about a Research Tax Credit.

In any case, the initial reports of his infrastructure project, which includes an Infrastructure Bank, seem to be quite good (including building vast new stretches of rail.) I just hope the Administration, long known for not getting it, gets it. This will not pass. It may pass the House, though thats iffy because the House is in a tight battle for which party will control it and wavering Democrats will not wish to add one ounce to the deficit; but either way it will be filibustered in the Senate. Or it will be threatened to be filibustered and that will mean it wont even be brought up for a vote.

So if the Administration gets it, they will see to it that they make the aims of this bill known (and by that I mean they emphasize not the infrastructure part but the Jobs, Jobs, Jobs it will create) then move heaven and earth to emphasize and overemphasize the Republicans blocking it.

Because this is unlikely to pass (though I think it is much needed) the only way this can be used for a win is to present the case, the narrative, to the electorate that the Obama Administration has a great jobs bill, one that will rebuild America, and the Republicans are blocking it. They should call it a jobs bill and not an infrastructure bill. The Republicans are on message in that everything they say is Jobs Jobs Jobs, for some reason the Democrats are not. That is all the American public cares about at this point, even more than the deficit.

So if the Obama Administration can define this as a jobs bill, and can shine a light on Republican obstruction, which always goes without attention, then it can be a winner. But I have lost all faith in this Administration and predict this goes no where.

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