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If the Republican tax plan passes Congress, it will mark a watershed for the United States.If Congress doesn't slash spending, automatic cuts will kick in unless Democrats and Republicans can agree to waive them.As Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution points out, combined public investment by federal, state and local governments is at its lowest point in six decades, relative to GDP.In August, the World Bank looked at 50 countries and found that America would have the largest unmet infrastructure needs over the next two decades.According to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, the U.S. has almost 56,000 structurally deficient bridges, about 1,900 of which are on interstate highways – and all of these are crossed 185 million times a day. Another industry report says that in 1977 the federal government provided 63 percent of the country's total investment in water infrastructure, but only 9 percent by 2014 . When I came to America in the 1980s, I was struck by how well American government functioned.
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