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Biden needs a new plan

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Opinion writer Kaelin Connor discusses president Joe Biden’s renovation plan and  unveils how it could be detrimental to American infrastructure. 

Biden’s infrastructure plan is bold, but it’s also confusing. 

On March 31, the president unveiled one of the most extensive renovation packages since the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. From a distance, it seems like an excellent idea; until you take a look at what’s in it. 

Infrastructure has a muddled definition that a lot of people disagree on. Some say it’s roads, bridges, buildings, etc., but a social scientist would argue that it also encompasses public structures like hospitals, schools and public housing. Regardless, Biden’s proposal is undoubtedly one of the boldest plans to ever hit the floor of the Senate. 

After the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt, America’s prized gem, implemented the New Deal, which is still one of the biggest public works projects ever accomplished. This deal had a bill of about $800 billion in today’s dollars. The National System of Interstate Highways cost about $550 billion and the Space Race about $265 billion. All of this to say, America has never approved — let alone, seen — such a pricey makeover package as Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill. 

Just by skimming over the White House’s Fact Sheet on the American Jobs Plan, you’ll see that, well, it’s long. It’s categorized its intentions into four sections: infrastructure at home, transportation, research and caretaking. Within those sections, the White House details specifics on what is included in these sections of the plan. And if you’re wondering, it includes everything

The issue Biden is running into (and will continue to run into) is that his proposal is too dense, too expensive, and will run into both short and long-term consequences. While there is surface-level “good” to what is detailed in the plan, it won’t be effective on a nation-wide scale. Instead, it would be best for Biden to compartmentalize these plans into smaller ones and focus on state and local governmental programs geared toward improving failing infrastructure or implementing social programs. 

Another issue with it is that it includes social infrastructure. Social infrastructure includes hospitals, housing facilities, schools, community facilities, etc. However, the plan does not mention any type of public policy reform, and you can’t have any kind of infrastructure improvements without specifying that in the bill. Types of policies that would need revision would include (but are not limited to): healthcare, universal child care and education reform.  Sure, when you think of infrastructure the first thing that comes to mind is physical buildings, but to include metaphorical infrastructure, the inside of these institutions needs revision as well. Without the implementation of policy reform at all levels — federal, state and local — then nothing can be accomplished in that department.

Then there’s the price tag.

Biden’s states that all of this money will be coming from raising corporate taxes from 21 percent to 28 percent. The issue with this is that most corporate companies dealing with infrastructure construction lie at the state and local levels, not the federal government. This, in turn, raises the question of how the federal government intends on interacting with corporations and infrastructure companies on a state level. 

Well, the bill doesn’t answer that.

That’s one reason Biden has been met with an uproar from Republicans, with about 70 percent disapproving. Change in our country’s infrastructure, which does need to happen, will require smaller propositions to get Republicans on board. If not, then when Senate Republicans are once again in the majority, nothing valuable in this plan will be left. 

However, it is important to recognize that Republicans are willing to negotiate with Biden. Sen. John Cornyn has mentioned he would support a smaller, $800 billion plan, saying, “There is a core infrastructure bill that we could pass… So let’s do it and leave the rest for another day and another fight.” It’s a no-brainer that America could afford a renovation, but a disputed agenda like Biden’s needs universal agreement on both ends of the spectrum to carry it out fully.

If the issue is roads, airports, bridges and dams, then states should implement plans that simply focus on those areas. From a distance, one might think, “Sure, our infrastructure needs help. Why not?” But it’s the disputed pork attached to the bones that makes you wonder how beneficial this plan would be. America needs all the help it can get, but this isn’t the way to go about it. 

Break it down before our infrastructure collapses. 

Kaelin Connor is a psychology junior and opinion writer for The Battalion.
 

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