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Why Biden’s Infrastructure Plan is NOT a ticket to tendie town

Im an engineer, but Im also an idiot. I literally almost flunked out cuz i was too dumb. I ended up in construction because i couldnt do anything else engineering related. Take this opinion at your own risk because I might be talking out of my ass.

I’m in construction, specifically on the municipality side (yea im *that* city worker) so I’m the one administering the federal infrastructure funds at the ground level. To date I’ve administered millions in federal funds on “infrastructure”. Infrastructure is by definition the least sexiest thing. Everyone shits, but we’d all prefer to not deal with it, that’s infrastructure. Here are a bunch of very common sense reasons why this isnt going to cash in.

* I see a lot of posts about steel, concrete and other raw materials. Clearly these are from people who know fuck all about infrastructure. I’d argue that if you’re looking to invest into Biden’s infrastructure plan you should be looking at the other end of this supply chain. Who do you think is more profitable, the no name company that supplies the raw material for 1 component of an iphone or Apple? If youre looking to jump onto the infrastructure bandwagon, I’d be looking at construction companies or engineering firms.
* But companies are also not a great bet. contractors and trades are specialized. The company that paves the street is not the same one that does traffic signal upgrades. An electrician is not going to do laborers work. Large companies will need(either by choice or requirement) to subcontract out certain specialized portions thus diluting overall tendies. not to mention that profits are capped. markup % is often literally defined. “Oh no Mr. Contractor you have a problem? fuck you, sucks to be you” (this is one of my favorite parts of the job). Not to mention that projects are parsed to all the states and from there into certain sizes in order to further dilute the tendies. State and local governments may have additional requirements that even further dilute the tendies. The government is trying boost an industry and the economy at large, not a few companies. The literal idea of the plan is to trickle money across the country. If you look at this fountain that slowly trickles down, if you place your cup in any one spot you’re just gonna get a few drops.
* Infrastructure means nothing because it means everything. It could be streetlight poles in which case steel is very very relevant, or it could be a fucking sidewalk in which case steel is not important at all. If you just open your eyes when you go outside (huge ask i know) you will see that infrastructure is extremely varied.
* Many of us with ties to the industry are feeling delays and back orders, but this is logistics related. These issues were around before the infra plan and will remain after. I think the idea behind these “DDs” on raw materials is because they think this infrastructure plan will increase demand on an already limited supply thus driving prices and profits up. Nevermind the contracting aspect of this money(a lot of it is fixed for a certain amount of time), Supply and demand still rules, but solving the global supply chain logistics will also increase supply. The supply chain logistical issues are a larger and more importantly, independent, factor.
* Also surprise surprise Biden’s infrastructure plan, while maybe bigger, isnt special. Trump had infrastructure plans and so did Obama. Infrastructure is ALWAYS happening. As i said, everyone shits and it doesnt stop. Infrastructure never stops, you can try to clench your sphincter closed and it’ll work for a lil while, but eventually you shit. Its the same thing with infrastructure spending. Biden’s plan is not the big demand surge people think it is.
* I think a lot of people underestimate the timescale of infrastructure. it takes time to build shit and it takes even more time to renovate shit cuz you cant just blow it up and start over. Most people cannot shit on command and those that can dont do it instantly. This aint China. We’re not gonna build a covid hospital in 48 hours( mostly cuz our work isnt made out of garbage tofu-strength concrete but that is another topic). This shit is going to take YEARS. I will see Biden infrastructure money at my level 1-2 years from now and will start spending it 3-5 years from now. Think about this, after the money is secured someone gotta design the damn thing, someone gotta the draw the picture so my dumbass who cant read can knows what is supposed to be built. Those assholes always fuck up too and they are the smart ones!!! This isnt even mentioning how raw material suppliers, product suppliers, construction companies, design firms, are only a part of this timescale.
* One dude can only use 1 shovel at at time, can operate one piece of equipment at a time. The pipe maker can only make pipes so fast and those pipes can only be installed so fast. There is no exponential factor in infrastructure like there is in tech. An app can be downloaded millions of times in a single night. You only shit one poop at a time.

Tl;dr. Infrastructure is like pooping. Everyone does it, it is always happening. Trying to cash in on infrastructure is trying to cash in on pooping. You can only poop so fast and so much, the supply demand is capped. You only shit one poop at a time. Sure you get diarrhea sometimes but even then it has its limits. You cant cash in on analogous dry heaves. Infrastructure is regular, so in the long term investing in this industry is probably a smart move. As long as humans are alive they are going to shit and if there are more humans tomorrow than there are today then there will be more shit, but if that is your tendie making strategy why are you even here?

What do you think?

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28 Comments

  1. /u/Scifi_Toilet and talks about pooping constantly. Also according to their post history they’re an avid StarCraft player so I firmly believe we’re hearing the truth about being a municipal engineer.

  2. This guy says essentially that if someone needs more money his favorite part of the job is to say fuck you, i need more money so I’m wondering if this post is a big fuck you?

  3. Steel has a lot of other factors driving it. Infrastructure isn’t *all* steel, for sure, but it takes a hell of a lot to build a great many different things. Even a concrete bridge needs a fuckton of rebar, and rigid conduit goes under roads. With steel, however, there’s also the fact that China had been buying and hording like crazy. Add their export tax into the mix, and lack of cheap Chinese steel becomes another supply chain issue. HRC is going up like crazy (only a single measure, but a decent one to gauge steel prices), and we’re not the only country with big infrastructure plans (again, China). Those are some of the reasons to buy into the steel portion of the materials sector. I think the pressure from China is going to be a big driving force in the supply chain which will continue to drive up prices; everywhere else has higher labor costs, which either means narrower margins, or more expensive products.

  4. Subcontractor here. OP has great points, but I’d also like to add that there will be no payouts from infrastructure projects if nobody actually wants to do the work. We can’t find help: nobody wants to hold a screwgun or wear a hardhat or learn how to read and count shit on drawings. I can’t find any estimators or admin assistants, much less installers. It is few and far between finding someone who actually gives a shit enough to put in the effort to learn and excel at a trade. Everybody wants to go play in marketing or seo bullshit but they don’t actually want to build anything, which is really too bad because one of the greatest feelings in the world is walking into a brewery, sitting at the counter and thinking, I built this shit with my hands.

    Anyway, projects are going to continue moving more slowly and more money is going to be wasted away in the industry because we can’t find good people who want to get dirty, and some shit right there.

  5. I only read your first few points, but I’ve gotta say it’s the VOLUME of funds that count, not what contractor will do what. That’s why the smart money is on the materials. Materials will be in high demand no matter what contractor or large engineering firm you hire. The best way to capture a piece of all of the upper chains is to invest in the things they need. Steel and concrete are already in high demand, this will cause a supply issue and drive up profits

  6. If what OP says is true about his 1-5 year timelines, then an infrastructure bill will indeed raise prices of certain companies, like steel, because of anticipation of future earnings. There’s only 5 US steel companies and it’s not hard to read the infrastructure bill and see where those funds are allocated.

    I have some experience in government contracting. The federal employee receiving bids will immediately know who will be picked because the lowest bid is always picked. However in cronyism the approving officers will simply tell their buddies who bid what so that their buddy can submit a bid plausibly under the rest.

    But we as investors won’t know any of this. So trying to pick an architecture firm or construction company to invest in based on the infrastructure bill is pure insanity. You only know who to buy after the announcement. And the iphone part maker to Apple profit analogy doesn’t work for the same reasons. And if Apple suddenly announces it’s buying a glass maker and you were smart enough to invest in 3 solid glassmakers because of the rumor you could see a better return on that investment than if you had invested in Apple along the same timeline.

    But when it comes to construction companies there are literally dozens per each major city that all do different shit and typically hate each other and scramble after govt bids. You can invest in one of the world’s 3 biggest construction companies which has fingers everywhere, but why wouldn’t you look at companies that have a stranglehold on the supply chain *which is rumored to be locked up for an additional twelve months* thereby ensuring strong earnings for the next year? If the company fundamentals are good and they will make solid revenue for the next year, then fuck yeah I’d buy the suppliers.

  7. Fellow municipal engineer here. One of my favourite parts of the job is also telling these dummy contractors “oh you have a problem? Fuck you sucks to suck ” I agree infrastructure package will be tough to play to tendie town

  8. “you can try and clench your sphincter closed and it’ll work for a lil while, but eventually you will shit”

    That is some serious DD. Any poop options OTM expiring in the next week?

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