Following a series of failed votes on a number of President Obama’s jobs proposals, Senate Democrats plan to keep pushing. The Senate is on recess next week, but when they return, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) plans to hold another vote on the “infrastructure” portion of the president’s plan.
The legislation would allocate $50 billion for “investment” in transportation and infrastructure projects — e.g., highway restoration, airport development, Amtrack, high speed rail, etc. — and establish a federal infrastructure bank as a “wholly owned government corporation” that would hand out federally-backed loans for infrastructure projects. (More on that here, and here.)
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood predicted that the legislation would create about 800,000 jobs at a cost of $75,000 per job. Which is perplexing, given that a recent Bloomberg survey of 34 leading economists yielded a median estimate of 288,000 jobs “kept or added” over the next two years. And that’s based on the entirety of the president’s $450 billion proposal, which works out to a rate of about $1.6 million per job.
Democrats plan to cover the cost the infrastructure “investment” with a 0.7 percent surtax on household earning more than $1 million a year. The measure isn’t any more likely to succeed that the others before it, but the bill’s inevitable failure will provide Democrats with at least another week’s worth of class-warfare talking points. And that’s leadership you can believe in.