It is one of the few things that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton agree on: The U.S. needs to spend more money on itself.
Clinton has proposed $275 billion in new infrastructure spending over the next five years, to go along with another $25 billion in loans and guarantees to support private-sector investments. Trump, a builder by blood, has pledged to double that figure, at least. He has called for spending up to $1 trillion on new roads, bridges, broadband, and more. (And that’s not even counting the fantastical Mexican-financed wall.)
The economic need for more infrastructure is obvious. There is considerable work to be done on the intranational capillaries and arteries and valves that circulate Americans around the country. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that there is more than $3 trillion of infrastructural work to do before 2020 in order repair, reinforce, and rebuild America’s circuitry, including almost two trillion for roads and bridges and several hundred billion more for airports and waterways.
For those who cynically suspect that a group of civil engineers might be overstating the amount of work that exists for engineers, that’s alright. The virtues of infrastructure spending at this juncture are widely sung. The Washington Post's Matt O'Brien rounds up the proponents, a list that runs the gamut from Bernie Sanders to the IMF and Ben Bernanke. San Francisco Fed President John Williams, the former chief policy adviser to Fed Chair Janet Yellen, recently said the slowly improving economy could benefit from "stronger fiscal policy," which means more federal spending.