Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders denounced Donald Trump’s $1 trillion proposal for a massive public-private government transportation infrastructure program Monday, describing it as “corporate welfare” in an online essay for publishing platform Medium.
“During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump correctly talked about rebuilding our country’s infrastructure,” Sanders wrote. “But the plan he offered is a scam that gives massive tax breaks to large companies and billionaires on Wall Street who are already doing phenomenally well. Trump would allow corporations that have stashed their profits overseas to pay just a fraction of what the companies owe in federal taxes. And then he would allow the companies to ‘invest’ in infrastructure projects in exchange for even more tax breaks.”
Vowing to refurbish the nation’s roadways, bridges and airports during the campaign and in his election-victory speech, Trump’s plan calls for $137 billion in tax breaks for private-sector contractors and consideration of a so-called “infrastructure bank,” in which government funds are matched for private sector investments to finance badly needed transportation projects.
Trump aides say the program would virtually pay for itself through profitable construction firms, workers they hire and additional tax revenue generated by a lowering of corporate tax rates and on a one-time 10 percent tax on offshore business income, which would lure American businesses back to the U.S. and generate an additional $250 billion in funding.
Congressional Democrats are likely to embrace the plan provided it includes more direct spending. Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has signaled support, but with some reservations: “It has to have certain things for us to support it. It can’t be just tax credits. That won’t be enough,” said Schumer.
Although some Republicans are enthusiastic over Trump’s proposal, many have quietly warned they will not support spending programs which are not completely paid for and prefer extra tax revenue to pay for expected cuts in the president-elect’s tax-reform bill.