Biden’s $2T infrastructure plan: job creator?
Laid-off West Virginia coal miner Bo Copley reacts to president’s proposal
When you hear that Democrats are about to spend $2.2 trillion (more than half the total amount this country collects in tax revenues in a given year), you might imagine that money is for roads, highways, bridges and ports. You would be less than 10% right. That’s the amount of this behemoth spending bill that actually dedicates to those priorities.
The rest of the money is being used to grow government and to subsidize well-heeled Democratic constituencies. Ditto for the last COVID relief bill, of which roughly 10% funded COVID relief. Already the Biden administration is talking about another $1 trillion “infrastructure” bill this fall.
The last time Democrats held majorities in Congress, we saw the same thing. The Obama-era stimulus, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) intended to fund “shovel ready” projects yielded far less than 10% for the projects used to sell the bill.
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This is disaster liberalism: leveraging a crisis to transfer huge sums of money out of the productive economy and into government coffers.
In my new book, “Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste: the Truth About Disaster Liberalism,” I unmask the deceptive tactics used to subvert the democratic process. Using the threat of an impending crisis, Democrats justify enacting expensive, unpopular and unconstitutional policies disguised as crisis relief.
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The latest crisis is infrastructure, but the crisis relief is the Green New Deal in disguise. Infrastructure is the spoonful of sugar to make profligate spending go down. And once we swallow the spending, we are expected to ingest the economy-killing tax hikes that will follow.
The results of Obama’s 2009 ARRA are instructive. After a catastrophic bridge collapse in Minnesota, this $787 billion behemoth was marketed as infrastructure spending for “shovel-ready” projects. Though just a fraction of the money was spent on infrastructure, that fraction was still a whopping $48 billion.
But it turned out growing government didn’t actually grow the economy. Government and market data analyzing the impact of the 2009 stimulus found it didn’t create many new jobs or result in long-term economic returns. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate climbed.
Notably, Obama’s stimulus didn’t actually increase infrastructure spending by much. In 2008, the year before the stimulus, $81.4 billion was spent on road and bridge construction work. After the $48 billion federal infusion, that number increased by just $800 million to $82.2 billion.
Why? According to T. Peter Ruane, of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association, instead of increasing infrastructure spending, states used the federal money to substitute for state dollars on infrastructure projects, using the savings to shore up their own budgets.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has made sure the same will be true of the latest round of COVID relief.
Disasters come in so handy. They provide a vehicle to move legislation that could not otherwise gain popular support.
She fought Republican efforts to tie the COVID relief to actual COVID-related spending. Now $195 billion goes to states with only one caveat – they can’t cut taxes. Massive infusions of revenue to cash-strapped states can now be used to offset the cost of bailing out pensions programs that have overpromised and underfunded.
Between the housing programs, the transit funding and the bailout money in the COVID relief package, states got half a trillion dollars in “free” money. And that’s just one bill.
In the infrastructure bill, money funds job-killing Green New Deal initiatives, corporate welfare to favored industries, new government programs that favor Democrat-run urban centers and port cities, and billions in government slush funds with little accountability. That bill spends more on electric vehicle subsidies than on infrastructure. That’s great for Tesla buyers – but how much help do they really need?
But it’s not just the spending that is so damaging.
When you actually read the bill text, you’ll find the same provisions again and again, attached like barnacles to every must-pass piece of legislation: giveways to unions, bailouts to profligate-spending blue states, economy-choking tax hikes, and vast transfers of income from private to the public sector.
That’s why last year’s COVID relief bills included provisions to nationalize local elections and award open-ended bailouts to state and local governments. This infrastructure bill contains unrelated Green New Deal initiatives and provisions that compel workers to join unions even in right-to-work states.
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The stand-alone bills that don’t stand a chance of passing without bipartisan support get chopped up and embedded into the popular relief bills. That’s why the disasters come in so handy. They provide a vehicle to move legislation that could not otherwise gain popular support.
These bills are marketed as manna from heaven. But they send the bulk of the feast to government and special interests, leaving middle-class Americans to settle for the crumbs and leaving their children to pick up the tab.
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