Las Vegas Sun

December 13, 2018

Currently: 55° — Complete forecast

Sun editorial:

Democrats’ plan for infrastructure improvements a winner for the US

President Donald Trump was right about the need to rebuild and update the nation’s infrastructure.

But now, Democrats have one-upped him in figuring out a terrific way to fund the work. Their solution: undo the tax cuts approved by Trump and congressional Republicans last year and use that revenue for infrastructure projects.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. Unless you’re a 1 percenter, this proposal offers a lot to like.

First, it would be a huge improvement on Trump’s funding proposal, which would provide only 20 cents of federal funding for every dollar spent. The rest would come from state and local governments and private industry.

The Democrats’ version would put Americans’ money to work for them — and put a huge number of Americans to work — improving roads, bridges, public transit systems, dams and more.

Plus, considering that the GOP tax cut disproportionately favored those in the top income brackets, using the revenue for infrastructure is a way for all Americans to benefit from it. The Democrats’ plan calls for $1 trillion to be spent on an array of projects, including $140 billion for roads and bridges, $115 billion for water and sewer systems, and $50 billion for schools.

The proposal would reverse cuts to the estate tax, raise the corporate income tax back to 25 percent from 21 percent, restore the individual alternative minimum tax and reinstate the top income tax rate of 39.6 percent. In doing so, it would claw back two-thirds of the revenue lost in the Republican tax bill.

“We believe overwhelmingly the American people will prefer building infrastructure and creating close to 15 million middle-class jobs than giving tax breaks for the wealthy,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Hard to argue with that.

Unless, of course, you’re Trump or the GOP leadership, who are force-feeding Americans the lie of trickle-down economics while enriching themselves and their money-bags supporters.

So the Democrats’ plan almost certainly will not pass.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it will fail. It sets up a clear contrast between the parties as voters prepare to go to the polls for this year’s mid-term elections.

In one set of boxes, a party that can’t figure out any plausible way to fund infrastructure repairs after passing a tax plan that will add $1 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years.

In the other set of boxes, a party that would get infrastructure projects moving by dialing back the tax cuts that were unfairly tilted toward the very rich.

Advantage: Democrats.