Economists estimated in 2011 that the United States needed $2 trillion in immediate investments just to bring its infrastructure up to date, and with borrowing costs low and the nation’s unemployment rate still high, such investments would allow the country to fix its crumbling roads and bridges while also putting unemployed Americans back to work. President Obama is attempting to take advantage of that opportunity by releasing a budget that takes billions of dollars in war savings and pours them into infrastructure investments and job creation programs.
Obama laid out his budget proposal, which includes the Buffett Rule to raise taxes on millionaires and aims to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade, today in Virginia. The budget includes billions in spending on infrastructure programs, worker training, and higher education investment, all in attempts to create jobs and bolster the nation’s economic recovery:
The president will propose using half of the money from ending Americas’ two foreign wars to subsidize investment in infrastructure as part of his request for over $800 billion in multi-year spending on job creation and transportation.
The Obama budget also includes funds for worker training to prepare American workers for open jobs through community colleges and other avenues and invests in higher education to make Americans “the most skilled workers in the world” in the future, Obama said.
Republicans have already opposed multiple attempts to invest in infrastructure spending and create jobs, as they fought efforts to include further infrastructure measures in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, fought a 2010 attempt to pass a large-scale infrastructure bill, and blocked the American Jobs Act last fall, even as the infrastructure in their districts continues to crumble. Multiple Republicans have already announced their opposition to this budget.
Obama’s budget may not be perfect — it cuts spending from areas that need investment and it includes less revenue than bipartisan plans like Simpson-Bowles — but considering the tough budgetary environment, it is a step forward on the road to economic recovery. The GOP, meanwhile, continues to tout budgets that force radical spending cuts, jeopardizing the nation’s economic recovery and putting America on a path that economists say increases the likelihood of yet another painful recession.