Infrastructure touches every aspect of our lives, from the roads we drive on to the water we drink to the electricity powering the laptop I’m using to type these show notes. Because of this, it’s also one of the areas in which the connection between money and everyday life is the clearest: if part of our country’s (or city’s or state’s) infrastructure falls apart, we often end up paying for it in ways both big and small. Building and maintaining a national infrastructure is also really expensive, which raises questions about who pays for it and what’s worth paying for that have led to a lot of political wrangling and debate (To wit, at one point, there were eight infrastructure bills circulating in Congress). In short, infrastructure is the perfect mix of everything we love talking about on the Financial Flipside (taxes, money, everyday life, citizenship, politics), so it seemed ripe for an episode. We hope you enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it (NB: LaTarsha was having audio problems this episode, so you may hear a echo or some background noise.).
Also in this episode: a brief discussion of super-wealthy people avoiding taxes–if you want to hear more about tax avoidance and where wealthy people and corporations put their money instead of paying taxes, you’re in luck. We’ll be talking a lot more about it on our upcoming episode, which we’re recording this week (questions? Email us at [email protected] or send us a DM; we’re @financeflipside everywhere).
Links, etc. are below the cut:
Mentioned on the show:
Flipping the News
- ProPublica’s “The Secret IRS Files” article on tax avoidance among the ultra-wealthy
- From Truthout: How family funds are used to squirrel away tax-free money
The Main Event
- The Week’s satirical ranking of all of the Trump administration’s Infrastructure Weeks
- The American Society of Civil Engineer’s 2021 Infrastructure Report Card
- Dueling infrastructure definitions, from Investopedia and from the Boston Review: What is Infrastructure, Anyway?
- Why the definition of infrastructure depends on who you ask
- From the Washington Post: The lingering effects of the Hernando de Soto bridge collapse
- David Alff on The Hidden Stakes of the Infrastructure Debate
- Darkness and chaos and bears, oh my!
- How highways finally crushed black Tulsa
- New York University Law professor and ACLU President Deborah Archer talks to WBUR about race and the structural legacy of the Federal Highway Aid Act [with reading list!]
- From CNN: Many of the highways build as part of urban renewal projects are starting to fall apart
- Why does it cost so much to build infrastructure in the US?
- Derrick Z. Jackson on the promise and potential pitfalls of highway removal
- From the NY Times: How ‘Infrastructure Week’ became a running joke
- From The New Republic: Will the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill suffer the same fate?
- From Bull City 150’s Uneven Ground project on the history of housing inequality in Durham, NC, a short series of pieces on Hayti and Urban Renewal [includes audio narration of page text]
- From the Durham County Public Library: Urban renewal records
- From the San Diego (CA) Union-Tribune: An op-ed from Julie Corrales, a Barrio Logan resident, about the environmental effects of having a highway run through your neighborhood
- From PBS NewsHour: breaking down the most recent bipartisan infrastructure bill’s impact on climate change
- From the Guardian: a visual explanation of what’s in the most recent bipartisan bill and what’s not
- From Don’t Mess With Taxes: 50% of voters surveyed in a new Morning Consult/Politico poll are on board with taxing cryptocurrency to pay for infrastructure improvements.
As of this writing, the Senate is nearing a vote on a $1 trillion dollar bipartisan infrastructure bill, nearly double the amount of money proposed in the first version of the bill. The bill would still need to make it through the House of Representatives and on to the President’s desk, but our long national Infrastructure Week may soon be at an end.