Infrastructure - an historic investment in our future, in the young people of America, in doing

The lives of Millennials, Gen Zers are going to get a lot better – As I was talking to one of my teenage kids last night I was struck by how much this new infrastructure bill is about her, her life, the life of her kids.  For the next twenty years she will see the impact these investments will make in just about everything she does.  She will be able to get to places faster and easier; things she makes and buys will be cheaper and easier to transport; water she drinks may be cleaner, healthier; and we will be taking enormous steps forward in creating a vibrant decarbonized economy, better for her, her children and their children in so many ways.  Her life, and the life of every young American, will just be better.  Their opportunities will be enhanced.  There will be, as the President likes to say, more “possibilities.”

Another powerful aspect of this new bill will be in how much more it will allow these young (and maybe not so young) Americans to do, to contribute, to understand how to make and build things.  I don’t think we have good language in America today to describe the importance of the collective capacity of our people, and how the knowledge they gain from education but also from doing/working/building is so essential to our collective prosperity.  The more understandings people have the more they can do, the more they can innovate, the more they can keep creating, adding to a virtuous cycle of knowledge and doing that moves our economy, our businesses, our society forward.  This infrastructure bill by putting so much money into working/doing, is going to create a big societal bang of more capable people, accelerating/expanding the churn of that virtuous cycle, making us all more prosperous and capable of winning the future.  This far-sighted bill, along with other investments we are going to make through BBB and USICA, is going to make these rising generations of Millennials, Gen Z and those that follow more capable of doing; and the long term benefit of that for America is simply impossible to put into dollar figures.  For the capacity to do really is the most important thing a nation can have; and doing, at a massive, distributed scale can only really happen in a democracy and through modern Western-style capitalism.   It is what America is really all about at its core – doing, and doing better than anyone else.  

So, what I am struck by this morning is how much we need to be talking to young Americans about what their leaders just did for them.  They did something dramatic, something that will do much to make their lives better.  They’ve invested in them, believed in them, given them more tools to make a better life and pass all this on to their children someday.  Investing forward is a powerful thing, a hopeful thing, something so central to healthy societies that I am a bit overwhelmed today.  For we have now - and no one can take it away - done something profound for our kids, our future, our nation and we need to take the time to sit with that, celebrate it and shout it from the rooftops.  As the President has repeatedly said passing this bill will show to all that our democracy and society can overcome the rancor and bickering and fighting and do something profoundly good for ourselves and our future.  While everything is not perfect today, this has been a very important week for America; and those of us who understand why need to be loud and proud about it all in the coming days, particularly with younger Americans who will derive far more benefit from these investments than those of us formally young.