Trump can make America’s infrastructure great again

President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSpicer speaks out after resignation: It’s been an honor and a privilege OPINION | Sean Spicer was doomed from Day 1 OPINION | Spicer is no martyr, Scaramucci a clueless pundit MORE in the campaign of 2016 and now as president has set forth the priority to build, repair and maintain America’s crumbling infrastructure to the tune of 1 trillion dollars.

The White House is reporting that according to the most recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s infrastructure received a “D+” grade. That grade takes into account tens of thousands of roads, bridges, tunnels, etc. all across our nation.

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The report does not even take into account other critical infrastructure like our old and decaying electric grid or our nation’s airports and train systems. Infrastructure that is not maintained costs jobs and costs citizens money in lost income in time wasted and repairs to vehicles damaged by crumbling roads.

 

So, while there is little argument that America’s infrastructure is in need of immediate attention the question is: “How do we pay for it?”

I have the answer: The President should announce a bond program called “MAGA Bonds” named after his campaign slogan to “Make America Great Again.”

Bonds are a great investment with a patriotic and needed purpose. Americans and institutions can invest to do their part in helping to “Make America Great Again.” Bonds do not burden the current taxpayer and allows big improvements to be amortized over the period of the life of the improvement. 

I would suggest MAGA Bonds be sold in 10-, 15-, 20- and 25-year bonds. This could adequately spread the costs out while allowing a good return for the investor.

So why bonds?

The next time you drive on a smoothly paved highway, borrow a new DVD from your library, see an office park rising up in your neighborhood or hear of a factory expansion that's creating new jobs, consider the role of the U.S. bond market.

Even bigger than the stock market, the largest securities market in the world plays a vast and vital role on the global stage, in the U.S. economy, and the daily life of every American. The outstanding value for all U.S. debt issues went from $12 trillion in 1996 to more than $35.9 trillion in 2010. 

The bond market provides local, state and federal governments, and private enterprises the funds needed to get development and long-term infrastructure projects off the ground. 

Before people are hired, earth moved, concrete poured, or products rolled off the factory floor, capital needed for the work is in place.

Chances are bond issues help raise the funds to get started on projects that help maintain our quality of life, well-being and U.S. competiveness.

The issuance and purchase of bonds help lower costs of infrastructure renovation and replacement for public works, as well as for new and expanding businesses. 

Among many examples, bonds help build bridges, roads, transportation systems, power plants that light and heat our homes, reservoirs and pipes that bring us water, sewer systems and factories that produce products fundamental to our daily lives.

Without bonds to finance these projects in a timely way, these systems would erode and break down. By the end of 2010, issuance in the U.S. bond markets had reached $6.7 trillion.

In addition to financing long-term infrastructure projects, bonds help governments manage the ebb of its cash flow, passing savings onto taxpayers who help the government pay for needed services, such as those provided by military, police, hospital staff, school teachers, and others.

The most fair and equitable way to pay for big-ticket public improvements is spreading the costs to those who will benefit from it over time.

There is no better salesman than the President of the United States.

I can see him announcing “MAGA Bonds” with great fanfare and then using the bully pulpit of the presidency to sell bonds appealing to patriotism and a good investment opportunity to make good on his promise to “Make America Great Again.”

Every citizen can invest in America instead of being taxed by America. 

Now is the time for men and women of America of good will to come to the aid of their country and what better way to do it than to buy a “MAGA Bond.”

Bradley A. Blakeman is professor of public policy, politics and international affairs at Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies, a member of President George W. Bush's senior White House staff from 2001 to 2004, and an informal unpaid adviser to the Trump transition team. He is also a frequent contributor to Fox News and Fox Business Channel. Follow him on Twitter @BlakemanB.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.