Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is railing against President-elect Donald Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan, calling it a "scam" that is little more than corporate welfare.
“During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump correctly talked about rebuilding our country’s infrastructure,” Sanders wrote on Medium. “But the plan he offered is a scam that gives massive tax breaks to large companies and billionaires on Wall Street who are already doing phenomenally well.”
Sanders added: “Trump would allow corporations that have stashed their profits overseas to pay just a fraction of what the companies owe in federal taxes. And then he would allow the companies to “invest” in infrastructure projects in exchange for even more tax breaks. Trump’s plan is corporate welfare coming and going.”
The details of Trump's plan have not yet been officially released. But a comparative study of his plan and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's plan was published by one of his prominent economics advisers, University of California at Irvine economics professor Peter Navarro.
And critics of the plan have the same view as Sanders.
“Trump’s plan is not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a tax-cut plan for utility-industry and construction-sector investors, and a massive corporate welfare plan for contractors,” wrote Ronald A. Klain in an opinion article for The Washington Post. Klain is a former assistant to President Barack Obama and was also an adviser to Clinton during her 2016 campaign.
Large tax cuts for corporations and big business are likely to be opposed by Democrats and progressive independents like Sanders. And if Trump tries other means, he'll likely be challenged by conservatives.
"Conservatives do not view infrastructure spending as an economic stimulus, and congressional Republicans rightly rejected that approach in 2009,” said Dan Holler, spokesman for the group Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation.
“To just add it to the national debt, I don’t think President-elect Trump or members of the Republican Conference would support that,” said Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a member of the House Transportation Committee and the conservative Freedom Caucus, according to Politico.
"Look, we don't have the details," said Republican Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, the House Transportation Chairman. "We're working very closely with [Trump's] transition team and hopefully with the new department head to figure out how we're going to pay for it. It's got to be fiscally responsible."