Donald Cohen

Donald Cohen is Executive Director of In the Public Interest.

Recent Articles

Public Infrastructure as Stealth Privatization

Trump’s infrastructure plans could raise costs, enrich financiers, and fleece the public.

AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File
AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File Road construction crews work to build a four-lane highway on Route 29 in Edinburg, Illinois. D onald Trump hasn’t released an infrastructure plan but has given a good sense of the direction his administration will take. His proposal will likely use giant tax breaks to spur a massive increase in private control of public infrastructure in what David Dayen called a “privatization fire sale.” Trump will be able to say the plan will both mean no new taxes and guaranteed profits for investors for decades. It’s too good to be true. There’s no doubt America needs a massive infrastructure upgrade. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates nearly $4 trillion in needs including decades of deferred maintenance of our drinking and waste water systems, our roads and bridges and more, as well as new infrastructure such as light rail and broadband communications needed respond to 21st century challenges and opportunities. The battle in D.C. will be over four...

California in Crisis

With a dysfunctional state government unable to act, the universities, schools, and roads that were once the model for the nation are crumbling -- if not collapsing.

California is broken -- and broke. Its K-12 public schools, roads, levies, aqueducts, parks, and bridges; its health-care system; home health care for the elderly and disabled; and even its once-envied public universities are all crumbling from long-term neglect and underfunding. State employees have been forced to take three unpaid furlough days per month -- equal to a 14 percent pay cut. Every public service and every community across the state has taken a hit. Emily Merchant, 27, saw the number of students in her San Diego kindergarten classroom double in one year. "I love teaching, but now I'm looking at other options," she laments. "It's too exhausting to do this forever and do my best for the students." In Sacramento, the municipal fire department has slashed $2.1 million from its budget by shutting down some water-bearing trucks, a decision that could put lives and property at risk. The state adopted a budget in July that cut 585,000 children from the popular Healthy Families...