Mike Rowe says Trump’s trillion dollar infrastructure plan has big problems

Mike Rowe says Trump’s trillion dollar infrastructure plan has big problems
Mike Rowe identified two big assumptions that could lead to problems with President Trump's plan to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure improvement. (Image Source: YouTube screenshot.)

Mike Rowe spoke to Chuck Todd about the state of hard work in the United States, and the problems that President Trump would have implementing a trillion dollar infrastructure plan. He spoke to Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Monday.

“I thought we were gonna have a big infrastructure bill already passed, and we would see an attempt to put some folks back to work,” Todd asked. “Are you disappointed we’re not there yet?”

“Yeah, I think I am, a little bit,” Rowe responded, “but I’m not shocked because the thing I noticed about the last administration that actually does have something in common with this one is a kind of, there’s a tendency to talk about job creation as if there’s a giant trained workforce standing by, waiting to fill jobs that get created.”

“I wrote to the last president modestly, right after his inauguration,” he said, “not long after my foundation started just to say, ‘look the idea that 3 million shovel ready jobs are going to be created sounds great, but from what I’ve seen our country does have a bit of a dysfunctional relationship with regard to the shovel.'”

“So before we say poof, here are the jobs,” he added, “we need to talk about the aspirational element and the practical reality of whether anybody is standing by to do the work.”

“Today I’m still saying the same thing,” Rowe explained, “you know if you’re gonna throw a trillion dollars into infrastructure, it kinda presupposes the idea that you’ve got a trained workforce standing by to do those jobs.”

“We don’t,” he concluded.

“And that to me,” he added, “is the most interesting disconnect in the whole dialogue.”

Later he explained the “lopsided” workforce that has been created by the wrong incentives on college education set by society. “6.2 million jobs are available as you and I speak,” Rowe continued, “the vast majority of them do not require a four year degree. So why are we still talking as if the best path for the most people is the most expensive path, it just doesn’t add up.”

“Why can’t we connect, because there are about I think 7 million unemployed – for the 6.2 million unfilled jobs?” Todd asked as Rowe laughed. “Is this an issue – I’ve had a theory that one of the problems we’ve had over the last generation is we’ve lacked domestic migration.”

“That’s great,” Rowe responded.

“We have become curiously and distressingly sedentary,” Rowe answered, “and you’re absolutely right when we talk about the numbers, the thing we always leave off is the geography. Because again, we kinda presuppose that people will go where the work is. I don’t know when that become anathema, but it did.

“And so, in terms of expectations that aren’t realistic,” he added, “now among them is not merely the availability of the job of my dreams, not merely the availability of a job that pays me what I believe is fair, but the existence of that job in my zip code.”

“That’s where things really and truly fall apart,” he said.

“I can’t imagine how this country was actually colonized and settled but for an unapologetic love affair with mobility. Where that went, I do not know,” he concluded sadly.

President Trump has said that he’s willing to push for a trillion dollar infrastructure bill to help spur job growth and improve roads, bridges and other edifices in the country.

President Donald Trump's administration told state and local officials on Wednesday that it will use its infrastructure plan to create incentives for the private sector to finance or take over public entities like bridges, tunnels and highways. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told about 150 transportation officials at the White House the administration wants the private sector to play a bigger role in managing and financing public infrastructure.

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