Internet and Healthcare are Infrastructure Gains

Ideas and Issues

ACORN Canada, internet for all, affordable internet

April 1, 2021

New Orleans      A couple of trillion in infrastructure improvements over eight years might get us part of the way to where we really need to be, although I hate to say this, but $250 billion a year doesn’t buy all of what we need to fix in America. I could just say you just don’t get as much from $250 billion as we used to, but we might as well celebrate the effort since it will be a job to get it done.

The Wall Street Journal, perhaps predictably, offered a scorecard on businesses that were winners and losers. Housing, automakers, solar and renewable companies, and so forth. The New York Times produced a sobering glass-half-full story on the impact on some of the remaining high-paid union workers like boilermakers building big refineries and chemical plants and the fact that more highly paid unionized autoworkers are employed in making a gas-combustion driven car, than an electric vehicle. Both stories are probably true. There are some clear winners though for everyday Americans and some workers.

One-hundred billion is slated to achieve internet for all. That’s amazing, and it’s a commitment to go the last mile. There’s a priority for municipal and nonprofit internet providers, which sounds better than it probably is in reality, since the big telecoms have managed to fence out these prospects in many places around the country through legislative action under the thumb of lobbyists. There was also some whining on whether broadband is favored over wireless, and whether some of the telecoms might lose a billion or two from their construction of infrastructure for slower speeds. Wah-wah-wah, but ignore all of that. Going the last mile to rural areas and reducing the costs – even President Biden was on the soapbox about the exorbitant and predatory pricing of internet in urban areas – would be a huge national equalizer. If the telecoms won’t go the last mile, open the floodgates to allow rural electric cooperatives to take on the job, helping them diversity and stay relevant and accountable in the 21st century.

Four-hundred billion for the care industry for the elderly and differently abled that have been hammered so badly in the pandemic killing fields is also a huge across-the-board winner. Allowing Medicaid to be used to reimburse costs would be a godsend. Making upgrades in the facilities to allow better and safer care would be fantastic. There was a casual note that the proposal for the care industry would make it easier to join unions. Speaking for our union and the nursing home and other care workers that we represent, please, please get us the details and make this happen.

Sadly, this looks like a struggle since corporations and perhaps even the wealthy might have to pay a fairer share of taxes. Some estimate that the tax rates would have to be adjusted for fifteen years to pay for these eight years. Since both of these groups have made out like bandits for the last thirty years, I would say they are still way ahead, and it’s only right for our time to finally come.