Most Americans received a cut in federal taxes, and most taxpayers don’t seem to recognize the savings, according to polls. Some are upset by lighter refunds and withholding issues. And my neighbor was perturbed about something else–the street in front our building needs repaving. But that seems like most streets in most neighborhoods in most places USA. We’re told the economy is “great.” Inflation is low, unemployment is a relative blip. Wages are increasing at a slightly improved rate, finally. But where is the benefit of lower taxes? Why doesn’t the average American feel more prosperous during what is less of a peak and more of an extended economic plateau? And why aren’t the streets getting repaired and why are subway systems falling apart? Is there a connection maybe?

I started writing about infrastructure 12 years ago. It was obvious then that the U.S. had underfunded transportation infrastructure spending for decades—basically since the end of interstate construction in the 1980s. The lion’s share of Federal subsidies for sewers and water treatment had ended then too. More of the funding burden would fall on states and local governments. The Reagan years were the beginning of starve-the-beast, federal tax cuts, which we were told would lead to greater prosperity. But tax cuts required window-dressing reduction in spending on items like infrastructure and deficits ballooned anyway since there remained a political mandate to fund defense, Social Security, Medicare and most other really expensive programs that the electorate has come to expect.

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Jonathan D. Miller

A marketing communication strategist who turned to real estate analysis, Jonathan D. Miller is a foremost interpreter of 21st citistate futures – cities and suburbs alike – seen through the lens of lifestyles and market realities. For more than 20 years (1992-2013), Miller authored Emerging Trends in Real Estate, the leading commercial real estate industry outlook report, published annually by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). He has lectures frequently on trends in real estate, including the future of America's major 24-hour urban centers and sprawling suburbs. He also has been author of ULI’s annual forecasts on infrastructure and its What’s Next? series of forecasts. On a weekly basis, he writes the Trendczar blog for, the real estate news website. Outside his published forecasting work, Miller is a prominent communications/institutional investor-marketing strategist and partner in Miller Ryan LLC, helping corporate clients develop and execute branding and communications programs. He led the re-branding of GMAC Commercial Mortgage to Capmark Financial Group Inc. and he was part of the management team that helped build Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, Inc. (subsequently Lend Lease Real Estate Investments, Inc.) into the leading real estate advisor to pension funds and other real institutional investors. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S. in 1981, moving to Equitable Real Estate in 1984 as head of Corporate/Marketing Communications. In the 1980's he managed relations for several of the country's most prominent real estate developments including New York's Trump Tower and the Equitable Center. Earlier in his career, Miller was a reporter for Gannett Newspapers. He is a member of the Citistates Group and a board member of NYC Outward Bound Schools and the Center for Employment Opportunities.

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