Organizational structures needed for the operation of a society, or in other words, infrastructure, provides a foundation for efficiency and quality in a community. In history, we learned about how some structures were used to validate or show a ruler’s influence over society. For example, the Pillars of Ashoka, which were built during the Mauryan Dynasty in Northern India, were used to communicate King Ashoka’s Buddhist message throughout his country. With these pillars, King Ashoka was able to show his administrative rule and his tolerance, which boosted his morale in the Mauryan Kingdom. Such as Edict #6, which says, “I have honored all religions with various honors. But I consider it best to meet with people personally.” This quote creates a positive connotation of Ashoka, and that is all a result of the building of the pillars. But there is also an important economic impact of building and maintaining infrastructure. It creates jobs, boosts tourism, aids in the transportation of goods, connects people to more opportunities for better healthcare, education, etc., and it is important for social change and development. Infrastructure spending can also be a method of fiscal stimulus, which refers to policy measures taken by the government to boost economic activity. Although expensive to maintain and construct, infrastructure projects provide many potential opportunities to improve an area’s economy.
I remember when I was volunteering at my county’s election, someone brought up the point that they didn’t want to vote for the funding of the reconstruction of a road because they wouldn’t benefit from that since they don’t use that road. It’s valid logic; why waste money on something that they wouldn’t use, but in the case of infrastructure, there’s always going to be someone who benefits from it. For example, let’s say that there was a plan to build a road from one town to another town. A restaurant owner in one of the towns decides that he’s going to vote against that plan, because he doesn’t want his tax dollars going towards something he won’t use since he never visits the other town. The majority of the votes go in favor of the road, and once it is constructed, the restaurant gets an increase in new customers that now come from the other town. So, even if the restaurant owner doesn’t use the road himself, his restaurant still benefits from it because of the customers that it brings.
However, infrastructure can have drawbacks as well. Road congestion and construction causes pollution and delays, which leads to more money spent on additional infrastructure or cleanup to fix the pollution. Furthermore, there are inequalities shown in these projects, as black communities have worse internet connection, and they suffer for the lack of infrastructure. There is also the historic problem of people of color being displaced by infrastructure projects or the placement of roads and highways that served to segregate and divide communities based on race. Vibrant communities of color were decimated by infrastructure projects in the past.
Biden’s infrastructure plan costs more than 600 billion in funding, and to pay for this, he proposes raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21%, however, this tax rate is still lower than the 38% in 2016. There are many arguments as to whether this would be beneficial or not. I think that infrastructure projects, while expensive, are worth it due to economic benefits and revenue. For example, a 2014 study from the University of Maryland shows that for every $1 spent for infrastructure, the country’s GDP increases by $3. Biden’s plans for infrastructure include money for worker training, research and development, and manufacturing incentive. Furthermore, the plan includes $400 Billion for in-home medical care for the disabled and elderly, as well as funding for the modernization of the US electrical grid and to encourage nationwide use of electric cars, which is an important plan for climate change. This goes far beyond what has historically been considered infrastructure. But, with the right strategy, a solid infrastructure plan could help improve the quality of life and help the nation’s economy after the global pandemic.