Eric Klinenberg, “Infrastructure Isn’t Really About Roads. It’s About the Society We Want.” | NY Times Op-ed

On April 26, 2021, IPK Director Eric Klinenberg penned a NY Times Op-ed titled, “Infrastructure Isn’t Really About Roads. It’s About the Society We Want.” Read the excerpt below, then click for the full article.

Until recently, the question of what counts as infrastructure was an academic matter. Today, thanks to President Biden’s $2 trillion proposal to upgrade and transform the nation’s infrastructure, it’s the most important issue in American political and economic life.

Mr. Biden argues that his “once in a generation” proposal is necessary to revive the labor market, promote public health and modernize the aging systems we rely on for energy, transit and communications. The plan includes $400 billion for home- or community-based care, $213 billion for affordable housing and $100 billion or more each for electric vehicles, clean energy, schools and public transit.

Republican leaders have accused Mr. Biden and his fellow Democrats of smuggling their entire domestic agenda into the word “infrastructure.” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas caricatured the plan on Twitter: “Abortion is infrastructure. Gun control is infrastructure. Forced unionization is infrastructure.” He and his colleagues argue that “real” infrastructure is little more than roads, bridges, tunnels and ports.

The Republican criticism is disingenuous: Politicians of both parties have long used the term “infrastructure” broadly, to refer to the basic systems, physical and otherwise, needed for the proper operation of society.

Read the full article here:

Photo credits: Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer, via Associated Press

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