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WE’VE FALLEN AND WE CAN’T GET UP

DONALD TRUMP’S INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN IS (A) TOO SMALL; (B) UNWORKABLE; (C) A GIVEAWAY TO THE RICH; (D) ALL OF THE ABOVE

IT WAS an early March morning on Washington, D.C.’s K Street—the boulevard synonymous with political influence the way New York’s Fifth Avenue is with high-end shopping or the Champs-Élysées with love. Lobbyists and lawyers, bureaucrats and bankers gathered for a conference on America’s infrastructure nightmare. And many of them were in a rut so deep not even the nifty model of sleek subway cars next to the coffee and croissants could lighten their mood.

They all knew President Donald Trump has been promising a massive plan to rebuild America’s infrastructure since the day he descended that Trump Tower escalator in 2015 and announced his unlikely bid for the White House. And they all knew that no plan has yet been announced. And that makes many people antsy, even angry. Those who live of government largesse are eager for his rhetoric to turn into a golden shower of dollars. And those millions of Americans stuck in traffic (the average driver is jammed up 43 hours a year) or rolling their eyes at the (sad!) state of New York City’s LaGuardia Airport—both former Vice President Joe Biden and Trump have likened it to a Third World country—want someone (anyone!) to do something (anything!) to ix this damn mess.

While shoveling down Nutella crepes and green power smoothies, plenty of the experts at that power event were also chewing on grave concerns about what the president will propose to, as he promised, “completely ix America’s infrastructure.” Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says “America is one big pothole” and laments that raising the gas tax or taking other reasonable measures to ix the country’s transportation rat nest are of the table. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, fears Trump’s plan could turn into a boondoggle for private investors. Even conservative Texas Republican Representative Blake Farenthold is doubtful that the rosy scenarios for getting a few public dollars and using them to entice the private sector to build tons of roads will work. “That’s going to be tough,” he says.

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ONE MILLION DEAD: WHAT WAR WITH NORTH KOREA WOULD LOOK LIKE What would another armed conflict on the peninsula look like? During the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953, some 2.7 million Koreans died, along with 33,000 Americans and 800,000 Chinese. In any pre-emption scenario now, the U.S. would try to keep the strike limited to the task at hand; at the same time, Washington would signal in any way it could, probably via the North’s ally in Beijing, that it did not seek a wider war.
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