NBC Lobbies for Higher Taxes and More Massive Spending

On Tuesday, NBC’s Today show devoted nearly five minutes of air time to lobbying for massive new infrastructure spending and higher taxes to pay for the legislation, key items on the Democratic Party’s stalled agenda. The report warned of economic doom if the United States didn’t immediately sink trillions of additional taxpayer dollars into the latest Biden administration priority.

Introducing the segment, co-host Craig Melvin announced that it was part of a new “network-wide series, America the Vulnerable, taking an in-depth look at state of this country’s infrastructure.” Fellow co-host Hoda Kotb explained the reason for liberal media outlet’s sudden interest in the issue: “It’s a major focus of the Biden administration, from roads and bridges to drinking water, railroads, airports, you name it.”

Transportation correspondent Tom Costello then told the anchors: “I’ve got a reality check. You know, the country is the biggest in the world in terms of our economy. We’re not even in the top ten in terms of the quality of our infrastructure.” Moments later, he warned: “The nation’s civil engineers warn America’s under-investment in infrastructure could undermine America’s global competitiveness.”

The fearmongering continued as the reporter pressed for urgent action:

The World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. 13th in infrastructure, behind countries big and small.…China is 36th and climbing, as it and other countries upgrade railroads, ports, airports, broadband, clean water, roads, and bridges….And while the U.S. has only one high speed train that briefly hits 150 miles per hour in the northeast, Asian and European trains travel much faster….Meanwhile, China is investing heavily across the board.

Reporting from Beijing, correspondent Janice Mackey Frayer touted how “China is already equipped with some of the world’s biggest airports….The plan now, to build at least a dozen airports a year, and by 2035, to have enough high-speed rail lines to circle the Earth twice.”

The brutal communist regime is also adept at building concentration camps to imprison its own citizens and a leak from the virology lab it built in Wuhan may likely have caused a global pandemic that killed millions.

As Costello took over once again, he noted: “Importantly, in many countries with more modern roads, ports, and railroads, citizens do pay more in taxes.” He then teed up a soundbite from a member of the Biden administration cabinet: “The U.S. Transportation Secretary says it is time for a big national upgrade.” A clip ran of DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg arguing in a recent interview: “We have been getting by on the investments that were made generations ago when we were willing to make the big investments.”

Amazingly, NBC seemed to forget the nearly one trillion dollars wasted by the Obama-Biden administration in 2009 on a failed “economic stimulus package” that was supposed to go to “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects across the country.

Wrapping up the taped portion of his report, Costello proclaimed: “With America’s competitiveness on the line, fixing the nation’s infrastructure has bipartisan support. The sticking point is how much we’re willing to pay.”

Returning to live coverage, Kotb wondered about the huge price tag: “But how much is it expected to cost?” Costello trotted out the usual liberal spin that the real cost would be in not spending trillions: “Are you ready for this one? The nation’s civil engineers say $2.6 trillion. And if the country doesn’t do it, we’ll lose about $10 trillion in global growth in about 15-20 years or so, and we could lose millions of jobs.” He lamented that “the problem is, as you know, here in Washington, it comes down to the money, Republicans and Democrats are divided.”

The segment conveniently ignored the fact that Democrats want to define every left-wing social program imaginable as “infrastructure.” If Biden wants something, NBC will produce a series of reports pushing for the boondoggle no matter the cost.

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Here is a full transcript of the June 15 segment:

7:40 AM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: We are back, 7:40, with our network-wide series, America the Vulnerable, taking an in-depth look at state of this country’s infrastructure.

HODA KOTB: It’s a major focus of the Biden administration, from roads and bridges to drinking water, railroads, airports, you name it.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: And this morning, we wanted to explore how the U.S. compares to the rest of the world. NBC’s Tom Costello has been looking into it. Tom, good morning.

TOM COSTELLO: Hey, guys, I’ve got a reality check. You know, the country is the biggest in the world in terms of our economy. We’re not even in the top ten in terms of the quality of our infrastructure. Eight percent of the bridges, just here in the nation’s capital, are structurally deficient, including the Roosevelt Bridge between Virginia and Washington, built in 1964. And the chances are you see signs of decay where you live every single day.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: America’s Infrastructure Struggle]

How many times has it happened to you? You hit a pothole and it ruins your tires and rims.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN [DRIVER]: I’m mad. I’m real upset. I’m real upset because, I mean, we shouldn’t have to drive on highways like this.

COSTELLO: The nation’s civil engineers warn America’s under-investment in infrastructure could undermine America’s global competitiveness. Take bridges, for example, of 600,000 nationwide, 46,000 are structurally deficient. The World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. 13th in infrastructure, behind countries big and small, including Singapore, Japan, South Korea, France and the U.K. China is 36th and climbing, as it and other countries upgrade railroads, ports, airports, broadband, clean water, roads, and bridges. If you travel internationally, you probably have seen it yourself.

Driving across Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, the roads are in remarkable condition. In fact, I haven’t driven across a single piece of chewed up road or a pothole. And while the U.S. has only one high speed train that briefly hits 150 miles per hour in the northeast, Asian and European trains travel much faster. NBC’s Claudio Lavanga on the Red Arrow, Rome to Naples.

CLAUDIO LAVANGA: This train will hit a top speed of 190 miles per hour. For decades,  Europe has invested heavily in high-speed trains, from here in Italy in the south to Norway and Finland in the north, cutting down on air and road traffic and rushing people between cities.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B [EUROPEAN TRAIN PASSENGER]: I think they’re absolutely fantastic, always on time.

COSTELLO: Meanwhile, China is investing heavily across the board. NBC’s Janis Mackey Frayer is in Beijing.

JANIS MACKEY FRAYER: China is already equipped with some of the world’s biggest airports. This is Daxing, it’s Beijing’s newest. The plan now, to build at least a dozen airports a year, and by 2035, to have enough high-speed rail lines to circle the Earth twice.

COSTELLO: Back in the U.S. – where is this ship going?

BRANDY CHRISTIAN [PORT OF NEW ORLEANS PRESIDENT AND CEO]: So this vessel with travel about 30 days. It is going to Vietnam, Hong Kong, three ports in China and Singapore.

COSTELLO: The port of New Orleans is spending $1.5 billion just to accommodate the newest ships that carry double the cargo from Asian ports that are already big enough.

CHRISTIAN: People need supplies, they need goods, that’s how products get to stores. That’s how products get to homes.

COSTELLO: That global cargo traffic only increased during the pandemic. Importantly, in many countries with more modern roads, ports, and railroads, citizens do pay more in taxes. The U.S. Transportation Secretary says it is time for a big national upgrade.

PETE BUTTIGIEG [SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION, APRIL 30]: We have been getting by on the investments that were made generations ago when we were willing to make the big investments.

COSTELLO: With America’s competitiveness on the line, fixing the nation’s infrastructure has bipartisan support. The sticking point is how much we’re willing to pay.

KOTB: Yeah, that is a big question, Tom, and Congress is debating the price of that infrastructure bill. But how much is it expected to cost?

COSTELLO: Are you ready for this one? The nation’s civil engineers say $2.6 trillion. And if the country doesn’t do it, we’ll lose about $10 trillion in global growth in about 15-20 years or so, and we could lose millions of jobs. But the problem is, as you know, here in Washington, it comes down to the money, Republicans and Democrats are divided. And so this is still a work in progress, but both sides right now still not coming to terms of agreement on how much to spend.

KOTB: Alright, Tom, thanks. And we also should mention, we’re gonna have a lot more on our America the Vulnerable series throughout the week here Today, on Nightly, and on NBCNews.com.

GUTHRIE: It’s a fascinating look, and you know, we’ll be covering the back and forth with Washington, the infrastructure bill and the negotiations, it’s good to see what we’re talking about.

KOTB: Yes, yes.

MELVIN: I didn’t realize our ports, apparently the port of New Orleans there, I didn’t realize how far behind we were when compared to our peers.

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