Infrastructure plan: Hillary Clinton Infrastructure Plan

Published: November 30, 2015

Infrastructure plan: Hillary Clinton Infrastructure Plan, Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Sunday to hundreds of union construction workers in Boston to provide $275 billion in additional infrastructure spending if elected president — the latest of more than $1 trillion of recommendations for new expenditures made by the Democratic front-runner without introducing any concrete plans on how to pay for them.

Mrs. Clinton teased the proposal to a room full of members from the Laborers International Union and Carpenters Union, who dubbed their effort to work on behalf of the former secretary of state as “Hard Hats for Hillary.”

Her plan includes spending $275 billion on infrastructure projects over five years, in addition to infrastructure money she said Congress should authorize. The majority of the money would be dedicated to direct investment by the federal government, with $25 billion going to support a national Strategic Infrastructure Bank, which would be used to fund projects.

Mrs. Clinton did not indicate how her plan would be paid for, yet took a shot at her nearest rival, Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, promising not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000.

“I’m the only Democrat in this race pledged to raise your income, not your taxes,” she said.

Conservative groups immediately criticized her proposal, saying it would be a boondoggle for taxpayers and that Mrs. Clinton is being pulled further to the left by Mr. Sanders, a self-described socialist, in order to win the Democratic nomination.

“Hillary Clinton’s latest near-$300 billion spending plan may make labor unions and the construction lobby jump for joy, but does she not understand that our nation is already $18.5 trillion in debt,” economist Stephen Moore said Monday in a statement released by FreedomWorks. “Clinton’s campaign spending promises are starting to break the bank. The only way she can pay for this massive spending binge is through either crippling tax increases on the middle class or saddling our children and grandchildren with even more crushing debt burdens.”

Jeff Bechdel, communications director at conservative political action committee America Rising, said there is “really no difference” between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Sanders.

“Both are proposing trillions of dollars for government programs that would send our national debt even higher into the stratosphere — debt that will fall squarely on the backs of future generations,” Mr. Bechdel said. “At the very least, Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders should be honest about how they intend to pay for it all: by hiking taxes on Americans at every income level.”

So far this election cycle, Mrs. Clinton has said she proposed spending $350 billion over 10 years to make college more affordable, a $10 billion, 10-year initiative to tackle substance abuse, and a $60 billion solar panel plan to help fight against climate change. Her child-care proposal may cost at least $200 billion, The Wall Street Journal estimated.

Mrs. Clinton has also recommended a $20 billion plan to expand AmeriCorps, as well as a $30 billion plan to revitalize coal communities. She’s also introduced a $20 billion tax-credit plan for companies that share their profits with their workers, and $10 billion tax credit carved out for caregivers.

The Clinton campaign has cited closing unspecified tax loopholes as one of the ways to cover the expense and various, unspecific tax increases. Mrs. Clinton’s team has also signaled it will make changes to social security to help benefit workers who take time off to care for seniors and is considering an overall tax break on the middle class.

In terms of funding her infrastructure investment, the Clinton campaign said they would simply the business tax code in order to fund it, without giving further explanation.

Mr. Sanders has also pledged to dole out government money to different groups without any indication of how the government will pay for it. The Wall Street Journal tallied the cost of Mr. Sanders’ proposals to reach $17 trillion over a decade, representing the largest government peacetime expenditure in American history.

Mr. Sanders has acknowledged some of his proposals will include a tax increase for working class families, but said it’s a trade-off the American people are willing to make for more robust government programs.

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