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White House Meetings on Infrastructure This Week

Jan. 2, 2018 (EIRNS)—President Trump’s schedule today included a meeting on infrastructure policy with Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, whose credentials include being former head of Goldman Sachs. Advance coverage by Newsweek and Politico of what is expected from Cohn on Trump’s forthcoming policy, is that Cohn will reiterate platitudinous evasions about how the scheme is supposed to work, of having $1 trillion go into infrastructure over 10 years, with $800 billion coming from states, localities, and PPP deals. The special pitches said to be expected from Cohn are: reduce the time spent on pre-approval of projects (bridges, roads, etc.,) reduce regulations involved, and favor privatization.

Cohn’s advance comments along these lines, reported in Newsweek, include such pronouncements as, "The biggest single thing we can do for infrastructure in this country is we can shorten and improve the approval process." Do that, and "there is money," he says.

Meantime, there are expressions of disgust at this cant, and demand for real action. The New Year’s Day edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette carried a statement by the editorial board, titled, "Time To Build: Infrastructure Should Top U.S. Agenda in 2018." Referring to the American Society of Civil Engineers Report Card giving the U.S. a D+ for infrastructure, the paper reviewed the "disgraceful" condition of all categories of structures, including such examples as the 11-hour power outage at the Atlanta International Airport recently, exemplifying aged electrical systens. "Infrastructure investment was a priority for Mr. Trump during the campaign season."

Trump on Jan. 4 is to meet with Republican Congressional leaders at the White House, with Marc Short, his legislative liaison.