After passing the American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s COVID-19 stimulus bill, Democrats have shifted focus towards infrastructure. The issue has been spoken about for decades with little to no action.
United for Infrastructure CEO Zach Schafer joined AWF Union Podcast to address the need for an infrastructure bill. While discussing the need for new and improved infrastructure, Schafer also addressed how to pay for the plan.
Why is infrastructure needed now?
Schafer said infrastructure is one of the most important things we use every single day, yet pay little attention to when it needs to be repaired or rebuilt. A nation or region’s infrastructure is the backbone of their economy, determining what industries the area can serve.
The purpose of United for Infrastructure is to bring attention to the need for improved infrastructure by partnering with businesses and labor organizations with mutual interests.
Schafer said one of the best arguments for passing an infrastructure bill is the employment opportunities offered. While the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, people are back to seeking good-paying jobs. The building trades jobs created through infrastructure provide what job seekers are looking for and allow them to build a career.
Putting Americans back to work
As the U.S. emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are struggling to find people willing to work. Part of the reason is the amount of people who took an early retirement once they realized how long businesses would be closed.
Schafer insisted that employers make themselves as attractive as possible to job seekers. People want protections in the workplace and a wage they can survive on, like the jobs created by infrastructure legislation. He also said an infrastructure plan will provide a unique opportunity for building trades unions to diversify their ranks.
Paying for the American Jobs Plan
There have been many suggestions on how to pay for the American Jobs Plan, but no consensus. Schafer brought up an increased corporate tax rate, but this plan has been heavily lobbied against by congressional Republicans and some Democrats.
He later suggested increasing the gas tax, something that has not been done in a long time. This has gone hand in hand with the suggestion of a user fee for those who tend to use roads more frequently and for longer distances.