Many reviews of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (WI-1) budget have found it lacking—mostly due to oversights or slights to poor and working Americans. But the social safety net isn’t the only thing largely ignored in the Ryan budget.
It seems he overlooked a little something called infrastructure investment—done by either public or private entities.
Modernizing America’s infrastructure is a bipartisan preference in Congress, with governors and mayors, and among global businesses. Just this week, a Gallup poll found that 77 percent of Americans support more infrastructure expenditures. That 77 percent includes majorities of both parties and Independents.
President Obama made clear in his State of the Union Address that infrastructure is a centerpiece of his economic plan going forward. In his 2013 budget, Obama mentioned infrastructure 108 times within a 256-page budget. The idea is often to fuel greater private investment.
Representative Ryan is, by comparison, less supportive.
In his 91-page plan, The Path to Prosperity: Blueprint for American Renewal, Ryan fails to mention infrastructure investment at all. This is down from his 98-page 2013 budget, which mentioned infrastructure all of twice. And infrastructure did get one mention in the Ryan-inspired budget plan which the House of Representatives approved this week.
The Ryan Plan appears out of step not only with the broader citizenry, but also his own party—which has largely recognized the need for and benefits of infrastructure investments. It seems everyone, perhaps with the exception of Ryan and some who supported his budget, realizes that few things help business and grow our economy more than investing in infrastructure.
It worth at least noting that the “renewal” Ryan writes about in his budget does not appear to include the arteries of commerce—our ports, rail lines, roads, bridges, or waterways.