Rebuild Roads or Line Billionaires’ Pockets?

Infrastructure Investment

Trump/GOP Tax Plan Reveals Twisted Priorities

If you’re like me, you’re probably still asking yourself whatever happened to Donald Trump’s promise to invest $1 trillion in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure to make America great again.

Now we know the answer. He decided to use that money to line the already overflowing pockets of giant corporations and trust fund billionaires.

In fact, the Donald Trump/Paul Ryan tax bill not only takes money that should be used to create infrastructure jobs and gives it to people and businesses that don’t need it — it’s a job-killer for construction workers.

Let’s take a quick look at the details. First, the tax bill would slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent — a move that on its own costs nearly $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Factoring in all of the changes to business taxes, the net cost will be $847 billion.

This is insanity. Profits are already at or near all-time highs. Many corporations are sitting on mountains of cash — and they’re not using it to hire more workers or increase wages and benefits. Instead, they’re paying higher dividends to shareholders, purchasing other companies to create monopolies, and buying back shares of stock to increase the price. So that extra $847 billion they don’t need is just going to wind up in the pockets of the wealthiest people on the planet. And because approximately 35 percent of shareholders are foreigners, nearly $300 billion will likely go out of the country.

Let’s look at a second key part of the Trump/Ryan bill: Reducing and then eliminating the estate tax on inheritances. Today, this tax affects just the richest 0.2 percent of Americans because it only applies to estates worth more than $5.49 million. I certainly don’t know any OPCMIA members — or for that matter, any of our contractors — who pay it.

So every last dollar from getting rid of the estate tax will go to people lucky enough to be born to millionaires and billionaires, like Donald Trump’s children — not to those who earned money through their own hard work or brilliance. And its cost? $172 billion over 10 years.

Now, add these two items, corporate tax cuts and ending the estate tax, and you’re costing the U.S. Treasury $1.019 trillion. That’s Trump’s infrastructure promise right there.

Just imagine: How many roads and bridges could be repaired, how many highways could be built, how many airports could be renovated, how many dams could be shored up, how many schools could be revitalized with that money? And how many man-hours of employment would be gained by OPCMIA members?

Instead, Trump wants all that money to go to corporate shareholders and the idle rich. What a betrayal!

Adding insult to injury, the Trump/Ryan tax bill will slam the homebuilding sector, because it limits the deductions for home mortgages and property taxes. That will cost our members critical man-hours.

And by completely eliminating the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes, the Trump/Ryan tax bill will create fiscal nightmares for state governments, which in turn will reduce infrastructure spending at this critical level.

The bottom line is the Trump/Ryan tax bill will be a disaster for our country and for our members. And it puts the lie to the argument that our nation can’t afford to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure. All we need are the right priorities — and the political courage to tell giant corporations and billionaires that jobs and infrastructure matter more than their greed. I urge our members to send this message loudly and clearly to their representatives and senators.

Daniel E. Stepano
General President