To me, the most interesting aspect of this story is that it highlights how Republican policies shift the revenue burden away from millionaires & billionaires (who can afford it), towards the middle-class & poor (who are struggling to make ends meet). In the article, we learn that (a) Los Angeles's infrastructure problem "is exacerbated by cutbacks in federal spending on public works" and (b) conservative talk show host and public official Kevin James is calling for a sales tax increase--a tax increase that would disproportionately affect the middle-class and poor (sales taxes are highly regressive).
This same phenomenon is happening all across the country. Instead of increased federal aid for infrastructure (such increases are routinely blocked by Republican and Tea Party politicians) we see increased & regressive taxes, tolls, fees, and fines at the state & local level. In my home state of Maryland, for example, the toll to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge went from $2.50 to $6.00 in just 2-3 years--a 140% increase (bridge tolls, like sales taxes, are highly regressive).
Federal aid could be increased, of course, by raising tax rates on the super-wealthy (tax rates that are now historically low), and also by cracking down on super-wealthy tax cheats (we lose about $300 billion--per year--due to tax evasion, practiced largely by the super-wealthy--see here and here). But Republican and Tea Party politicians are actively working to protect the super-wealthy from paying more, with a two-pronged strategy: First, as we all know, they work hard keep tax rates low on the super-wealthy. And second, they work hard to protect super-wealthy tax evaders from law enforcement. See, for example: "Republicans bash U.S. law targeting offshore tax dodgers" and "Policing Tax Evasion Could Save Billions, But Republicans Won't Fund Enforcement." As Heather Lowe of Global Financial Integrity said, "It is mind-boggling that a major political party would even consider endorsing a resolution to facilitate tax evasion."
Middle and low-income Americans, who have seen their household income drop as corporate profits have soared, desperately need a new and even stronger New Deal. Unfortunately, as our country descends further and further into plutocracy, all they're going to get are increased taxes, tolls, fees, and fines.
Welcome to the Reverse New Deal.