Steve Ellis, TCS president, had the following statement after reviewing the Biden Administration’s 25-page infrastructure package of more than $2 trillion in spending and $2 trillion in revenue offsets:
“The Biden infrastructure package has been released – I guess. We haven’t seen the actual bones, the legislative details of the proposal or estimates of how much revenue the tax changes will generate. Clearly there is a need for infrastructure investment. But there is also no free lunch. It may be April, but it is still March Madness and the administration is looking to score. There have been head feints, drives down the court, even shots, but it is not clear exactly what offensive – or more importantly – defensive strategy the administration is employing. We have to figure out what is worth borrowing for as a nation or what we should find offsets to pay for.
At TCS we have all driven bad roads, worried about bridges, dealt with shoddy transit and we can all see the cost of poor port infrastructure. So we are not coming to the discussion from either ignorance or dismissal. Our concerns come from – in part – our view on emergency spending – with a wrinkle. Our infrastructure challenges are long festering, not immediate or sudden. At least not what has been a rot or problem for decades. To tackle these problems once and for all, the solutions also must be comprehensive, realistic, and enduring. We reserve judgment until full details are released and the rubber meets the road because 25 pages doesn’t provide a lot of detail on more than $2 trillion in spending. And that doesn’t count a purported $2 trillion in revenue raisers. So $4 trillion outlined in 25 pages – or more than $150 billion a page.
That said, at a time when too many lawmakers seem unconcerned by deficits and the nation’s mounting pile of debt, we are heartened by attempts to pay for at least some of this package. Normally we would scoff at 15 years of offsets to pay for 8 years of spending, but these are different times. The real proof of this administration’s commitment will be to see how they put their legislative shoulder to the wheel to get not just the spending, but the revenue offsets enacted. One thing they should certainly point out is that five years ago a 28 percent corporate tax rate would have been hailed as a big tax cut, not increase.
All indications are that the administration and their Congressional allies are going to have to move this package through budget reconciliation. The same extraordinary procedure they used to pass the COVID-19 relief and stimulus package earlier this year. While this allows a simple majority to pass legislation through the Senate, it will severely limit any policy changes or shifts to move as part of this process.
We look forward to reading more details on the administration’s plan.”