In a purported news article at the end of August the New York Times business section gave a big wet kiss to the idea of privatizing the nation's bridges, roads and civil infrastructure. In a nearly 40 column inches, reporter Jenny Anderson casts investors as thwarted social workers ready to do their part in helping to fix America's crumbling infrastructure. Nearly everyone quoted in the story is an investment banker or investor. Politicians are quoted only to bemoan the sad state of roads and bridges, cry about their budget deficits, and wring their hands over the lack of viable solutions.
The obvious solution is private investment. Or at least, that's the only solution that the Times explores (notwithstanding a misleading headline on the online version of the story, "Cities Debate Privatizing Public Infrastructure").
So, here is the scam. The government taxes you to build roads and bridges and other infrastructure. That is supposed to be their primary job; to keep the nation's infrastructure in good working order.
But, you know, it takes a lot of work and time to maintain that DC party circuit, be courted by lobbyists and hold that wide stance in the restrooms, and years of neglect by the government which continued to take your taxes, but not maintain the roads and bridges have allowed the infrastructure (remember, that's supposed to be a major part of the government's job) to decay. So the US Government is now taking those assets that YOU PAID FOR, and selling them. We're not sure what they plan to do with that cash, but I'll bet you won't get any of it.
Only, here is the rub. Those private investors are taking over those assets YOU paid to build in order to make a profit, which means they are going to make you pay to use those roads, bridges, rail lines, etc. that you already paid to build and which (until they were sold out from under you by the government) you OWN.
That's right. Your taxes paid for those rods and bridges. You OWN them. You paid the government to keep them in good repair and having failed to do that, the government is simply going to sell YOUR property to private investors who will then RENT it back to you!
Such a deal!