I’m a bit behind on this (I’ve been on vacation the past week,) but just a few days ago the WSJ reported that Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has announced her economic plan, making the case that infrastructure spending can indeed go hand-in-hand with economic growth:
In an effort to frame the campaign debate, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination will argue that Republicans want to boost economic growth without regard to whether the middle class thrives. “She firmly believes that yes, we have to grow, but we have to grow together,” said a campaign official who previewed the speech.
To promote growth, Mrs. Clinton will urge tax cuts for small businesses, new government spending on infrastructure and promoting clean energy, the aide said. She also will propose ways to make it easier for women to succeed in the workplace, including support for child care and paid leave.
To address income inequality, Mrs. Clinton will call for raising the minimum wage, increasing taxes on the wealthy, boosting the power of unions and reducing health-care costs.
The campaign crafted the plan in the midst of a surge of support among rank-and-file Democrats for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose presidential candidacy includes unabashed calls for government spending to redistribute income and create more fairness.
While she’s certainly not the first candidate to make the connection, crafting an effective message linking infrastructure with economic growth that contrasts the “cut government waste/no new taxes” narrative that dominates today’s political conversation is no small feat. However, reminding committed to bringing infrastructure front-and-center into the presidential debates in 2016 could mean that if she wins, her administration would have the political capital to work with a (hopefully) more cooperative Congress to actually do something meaningful. Indeed, it will be interesting to watch the emergence of this message as her campaign moves forward.