Creating 'MAGA Bonds' could be the key to funding US infrastructure needs

Creating 'MAGA Bonds' could be the key to funding US infrastructure needs
© Getty Images

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE, in the presidential campaign of 2016 and now as president, has set forth the priority to build, repair and maintain America’s crumbling infrastructure. As a candidate, Trump called for a $1 trillion investment. Now, after a meeting last week with the bipartisan leadership of Congress, Democrats and Republicans agree that America needs to make a $2 trillion investment in infrastructure.

The White House stated that, according to the most recent report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), America’s infrastructure received a D-plus — a dismal grade that takes into account tens of thousands of roads, bridges, tunnels and other transportation arteries and public infrastructure elements all across our nation.

That report does not even take into account other critical infrastructure, like our aging and decaying electric grid or our nation's airports and train systems. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Infrastructure that is not maintained costs jobs and costs citizens money in the form of lost income from time wasted in travel or 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 an answer: The president should announce a bond program called "MAGA Bonds," named after his campaign slogan of "Make America Great Again." 

Bonds are a great investment, and they often provide a patriotic and needed purpose. In this case, they would enable private Americans and a variety of institutions to invest in the bonds to do their parts in helping to make the country greater, better, stronger. 

Moreover, bonds do not burden today’s taxpayers because they allow big improvements to be amortized over the period of the life of the improvement. I would suggest that the MAGA bonds be sold in 10-, 15-, 20- and 25-year editions. This could adequately spread out the costs of projects while allowing a good return for the investor.

Surely the name “MAGA Bonds” would never be agreed to by any congressional Democrats, or even by some Republicans — but that would not stop the POTUS from calling them such, should it turn out that the sale of infrastructure bonds is a viable funding scheme.

So why bonds? Investinginbonds.com sets forth some of the reasons.

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 that the U.S. bond market played.

Even bigger than the stock market, the largest securities market in the world plays a vast, vital role on the global stage, in the U.S. economy, and in the daily life of every American. The bond market provides local, state and federal governments, as well as private enterprises, the funds needed to get development and long-term infrastructure projects off the ground.

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

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

ADVERTISEMENT

Bond issues help raise the funds to get started on projects that maintain our quality of life, wellbeing and U.S. competitiveness. Among the many examples, bonds help to 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 daily life.

Without bonds to finance these projects in a timely way, these systems would erode and break down — or would never be built in the first place.

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

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

There is no better salesman than the president of the United States. I can see him announcing “MAGA Bonds” with great fanfare, then using the bully pulpit of the presidency to sell them — appealing to patriotism and a sound investment opportunity to make good on his promise to "Make America Great Again."

And every citizen who wishes to do so can invest in America, instead of simply being taxed by America.

Now is the time for America’s men and women of goodwill to come to the aid of their country, and what better way to do so than to buy a "MAGA Bond." Because now is the time when we desperately need to build, repair and maintain our nation and to do it together, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Bradley Blakeman was a deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2004. A principal of the 1600 Group, a strategic communications firm, he is an adjunct professor of public policy and international affairs at Georgetown University and a contributor to Fox News and Fox Business.