Democrats Must Tax the Rich to Pay for Roads

Unsplash | Joshua Sunkoff

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Yesterday, after weeks of deliberation, a bipartisan committee of Senators finally proposed the beginnings of an infrastructure bill. This bill failed to do one thing that Americans have been asking of their representatives; tax the rich. Simply shifting money around and pointing the blame at unemployed Americans in a global crisis is just another way of burdening regular people with paying more than their fair share to fund our country’s vital infrastructure needs.

Funding infrastructure without also unrigging our economy and taxing the rich is not what the American people need. Working-class Americans have for too long carried the weight of our nation’s public infrastructure on their backs: It is time that billionaires pay their fair share and invest back to the communities they rely on. Democrats have a responsibility to do what Republicans are refusing: Tax the rich and wealthy corporations. It is time for Democrats in the Senate to turn their sites towards reconciliation in order to accomplish their economic priorities.

For this week’s Roundup, we have a few articles breaking down the bipartisan infrastructure bill; what’s in it, what’s not, who is paying for it (not the rich), and what democrats still have to do to get a better deal for the American people.

Here’s What’s in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal by Kevin Breuninger and Emma Newburger
The breakdown of the new bill proposal includes money to revive our nation’s basic infrastructure. There are considerations for roads and bridges, public transit, and environmental modernizations among a few other small categories. Notably missing from this proposal is any funding to improve our schools, child or elder care, or future innovation. The Senate basically turned over every rock they could find- all so they could keep billionaires from paying their taxes. The services the government provides to its citizens contribute directly to the success of billionaires and corporations. They should, in return, be required to use some of their profits to finance those costs.

U.S. Infrastructure Crumbling as Congress Debates Funding by Errol Barnett
While Congress is haggling over the details of the upcoming bill, the current state of our nation’s aging infrastructure is more grim than ever. Currently, more than 4o percent of the U.S.’s bridges are more than half a century old, and over 300,000 of them are in need of repair or replacement. Our current system is requiring billions of dollars just to meet the bare minimum standard, never mind any form of innovation or upgrade. We should be investing consistently in our country through higher taxation of the rich and corporations, as opposed to waiting until we are in dire straits before scrambling to find funding before bridges fall apart.

$1 Trillion Infrastructure Deal Scales Senate Hurdle With Bipartisan Vote by Emily Cochrane and Jim Tankersley
While the decision to take up the infrastructure proposal passed an important hurdle in the Senate with a 67-32 vote in favor, the bill still has to make it over several hurdles before becoming law to fruition. Balancing Republican and democratic moderate Democrats’ support Democrats’ support while also meeting goals of the initial proposal laid out by President Biden bill will be a challenge as it moves through the stages leading to the final vote. Even though this bill would be the first in a decade addressing infrastructure on this scale, it is still a far cry from what our nation needs after neglecting it for the last half-century.

Where did the budget reconciliation process come from? by Janet Nguyen
As the reality of a wholly insufficient bill being passed is becoming more likely, Democratic congresspeople are looking towards budget reconciliation as an option to accomplish their goals. This article gives a good basis for understanding what a budget reconciliation entails and how it can be used to provide working Americans the resources they deserve. By rearranging funding systems within a bill that has already passed, a reconciliation bill can alter spending and revenues. Democrats will need to set their focus on this over the coming weeks if they want to pass an adequate bill.

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