Infrastructure, by Whom?

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, explained that infrastructure improvements could only be accomplished by the states. To change this, a constitutional convention would be needed, because, as James Madison said, the enumerated powers given to the national government did not include the ability to build things like roads and canals. James Polk, our 11th President, and Franklin Pierce, our 14th, vetoed or opposed federal infrastructure measures. Under emergency conditions, Lincoln (our 16th) pushed through federal railroad, rivers, and harbors legislation. Rutherford Hayes (our 19th) was OK with federal infrastructure projects if they were “of a national character.” By the time of Harry Truman (our 32nd president), America was shipping taxpayer dollars overseas to rebuild war-torn Europe. Eisenhower (our 33rd) initiated the national highway system. President George W. Bush (our 42nd) promised to rebuild every power station in Iraq. Today, the multitrillion-dollar projects proposed by President Biden will have to be …

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