Remember Donald Trump’s magical plan to turn $200 billion in federal money… hey, presto!… into $1.5 trillion in investment in America’s aging, underfunded infrastructure (to which the American Society of Civil Engineers gave a grade of D+ in 2017)? Why should you, especially since that plan is now officially dead in the water in Congress and Americans know it? A recent Monmouth University poll suggests that 55% of Americans think the president is not giving this country’s crumbling infrastructure appropriate attention, while only 26% think he is.
There is, however, a seldom-noted exception to this growing American reality. You already know that the delays, the general nightmare of civilian air travel from chaotic, overcrowded airports is part of that reality in what still passes for the most powerful and wealthy nation on the planet. Military air power, however, is another matter. In fact, while Congress is essentially riven and paralyzed when it comes to investing in civilian infrastructure in a country that has yet to build a single high-speed rail line, a bipartisan majority is always ready to fund the building of just about any kind of “infrastructure” for the U.S. military. There’s hardly a weapons system or anything else the Pentagon wants that doesn’t pass muster. Only recently, for instance, Congress approved a sky-high budget for the Pentagon, which responded by asking for even more in 2019 — and it’s essentially guaranteed to get it in a country whose president brags regularly about “rebuilding” its armed forces, about a “great reawakening of… American might.” More new warships! More new planes! More new missiles! More new nukes! That’s infrastructure that still makes the grade in twenty-first-century America.
Today, retired lieutenant colonel and TomDispatch regular William Astore focuses on just one small (but wildly expensive) aspect of that build-up, a redundant new nuclear bomber, the B-21, and why (against all logic in a country that needs so many other kinds of investment) it’s a can’t-miss for some future Congress.