Rather than let the Left set the terms of the debate, conservatives should ask themselves how they would approach infrastructure if they were setting the agenda.
President Biden’s $2.6 trillion American Jobs Plan has been savaged by conservatives as too expensive, tax heavy, and stuffed with items from the progressive wish list entirely unrelated to infrastructure. But congressional Republicans have also been pressured to propose a counteroffer. The wrong answer for Republicans is to return to the old “Democrat lite” approach of simply supporting half of whatever big government expansion the Left seeks. Rather than let the Left set the terms of the debate, conservatives should ask themselves how they would approach infrastructure if they were setting the agenda. After all, any compromise discussions require first determining one’s own goals and approach. Here are four principles for a conservative infrastructure proposal.
Principle #1: No New Taxes or Deficits
If the Democrats target an area of government for a substantial expansion, Republicans have no obligation to march in the same direction. After all, the federal-budget outlook was unsustainable even before Washington spent $5.4 trillion (a large portion of which was necessary) fighting the pandemic over the past year. Following the latest pandemic-relief law, the national debt held by the public is projected to double from $17 trillion to $35 trillion between the end of 2019 and 2030. If President Biden’s entire campaign agenda were enacted, it would bring the national debt from $17 trillion to $42 trillion over that period. That would be 130 percent of GDP, or one-quarter higher than at the end of World War II.
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