What’s In The Infrastructure Bill?

Yesterday Breitbart shared the following Tweet by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:

That is the current definition of infrastructure in the Biden administration.

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article listing some basic facts about the infrastructure bill. Below is a short list. Please follow the link to the article to read the details.

1. Dishonest advertising: Less than 5% of spending goes to roads and bridges.

2. $2.75 trillion tax hike would stunt post-pandemic economic recovery.

3. Big spending won’t deliver promised job creation.

4. Federal takeover of local responsibilities.

5. Undercuts businesses by micromanaging economic development.

6. $700 billion in corporate welfare and tax credits.

7. Over $400 billion in welfare and health spending.

8. Wasteful $165 billion handout for transit and Amtrak.

9. $174 billion in subsidies for electric vehicles.

The article concludes:

The bottom line: Central planning and federal micromanaging doesn’t work.

Biden’s latest spending proposal demonstrates that he has an unshakable faith in the federal government to manage the economy and tinker with how Americans live their lives. This is exactly the wrong direction for a nation as large and as diverse as ours.

Congress should take a hard pass on the plan.

I really don’t think this is what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

The Proposal To End Single-Family Housing In America

One of the great things about America is that many Americans are homeowners. As homeowners, they create individual homes that reflect their personalities. That is the reason driving through many of our cities can be a fascinating study of architecture and how it changed through our history. Well, if the Biden administration gets its way, single-family housing will be a thing of the past.

The National Review posted an article today detailing how the Biden administration is planning to eliminate single-family housing:

The article reports:

How, exactly, does Biden plan to end single-family zoning? According to the fact sheet released by the White House, “Biden is calling on Congress to enact an innovative new competitive grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate [‘exclusionary zoning’].” In other words, Biden wants to use a big pot of federal grant money as bait. If a county or municipality agrees to weaken or eliminate its single-family zoning, it gets the federal bucks.

The wildly overreaching Obama-Biden era Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation — which Biden has pledged to revive — works in a similar fashion. The difference is that by adding another gigantic pot of federal money to the Community Development Block Grants that are the lure of AFFH, Biden makes it that much harder for suburbs to resist applying — and that much more punishing to jurisdictions that forgo a share of the federal taxes they’ve already paid so as to protect their right to self-rule.

Are federal carrots enough, however? Prosperous suburbs may forgo the grants in an effort to secure their independence. The success of Biden’s initiative depends in part on exactly how much money gets allocated to grants tied to zoning reform. The details of that ask haven’t yet been released, but the $213 billion allocated to Biden’s total affordable housing initiative leave room for an awfully big pot for the anti-zoning portion.

I don’t think our Founding Fathers envisioned a country where the government could tell you what kind of a house you could live in.

The article concludes:

Last summer, when California floated a measure to kill single-family zoning, there was powerful opposition from residents who objected to a law that would make their neighborhoods denser, noisier, and more filled with traffic. Predominantly minority residents in South Los Angeles saw the bill as an “affront to how hard Black Americans fought to join single-family neighborhoods, battling redlining, racist covenants and even targeted violence. And they worried that suddenly relaxing zoning rules would not only ruin the low density they enjoyed, but also unleash an investment flood that would accelerate displacement of the Black community as developers scooped up old homes and built new ones unaffordable to most in the community.”

The zoning issue is tough and complex. It balances principled libertarian objections to zoning and the interests of developers, on the one hand, against core principles of federalism and local control, on the other. Massive spending and taxation are fundamental to the federal effort to override local zoning laws. Neighborhood preservation vies with “creative destruction.” There are plenty of complex, conflicting, and legitimate considerations in the balance. But reducing the zoning issue to bogus charges of “racism” is the way Democrats play the game nowadays.

If Republicans find the courage to stand up to the usual nonsense and oppose this big-government attempt to kill off the federalist system itself, they will find not only the vast majority of Republicans, but a great many independents and Democrats in their corner.

This is something to watch. If the infrastructure bill passes the Senate, it will not only kill our wallets, it will also end a lot of our freedom to choose where and how we live.

That’s A Big Change In The Numbers

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about the Biden administration’s revised estimate of how many jobs the infrastructure bill would create. The numbers have changed dramatically.

The article reports:

The White House clarified Tuesday that one study projects that President Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure package will create roughly 2.7 million jobs — not the 19 million jobs administration officials had touted over the weekend.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki cited a study from Moody’s that projects the U.S. economy will add 19 million jobs over the next decade if Congress passes Mr. Biden’s plan and about 16.3 million jobs if Congress doesn’t pass it.

“So that is what the impact would be of the American Jobs Plan — 2.7 million, to be totally clear,” Ms. Psaki said. “It is important to be clear and to be specific about jobs numbers — to provide clarity to the American people.”

Frankly, considering the cost of the proposed infrastructure bill, I’d prefer the 16.3 million jobs.

The article concludes:

Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had both cited the study over the weekend to say the plan would create 19 million jobs.

The White House later indicated that Mr. Deese misspoke.

Mr. Buttigieg clarified on CNN Monday that the Moody’s study projects an additional 2.7 million jobs in its forecast if the plan is passed.  

I wonder how many Americans missed the ‘clarification’ and are still believing the original number given.

Actions Have Consequences

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article warning of the consequences of passing the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill.

The article reports:

We are often told to “follow the science.” This is true of wearing masks, how we teach children to read, and addressing the perils of climate change. So we should probably better do the same with the economy, no?

Consider the new Congressional Budget Office report on that very thing, the budget, the economy, and how we tax it. Let’s assume that we want the Federal government to spend lots more money on infrastructure. I don’t, because I’m certain that the money will be sprayed up the wall like the last few trillions were.

Still, the CBO report is useful in laying down the basic science of taxation. Whatever we tax, we’ll get less of. Tax corporations and there will be less corporate activity. Tax the income from capital investment and there will be less investment. Tax labor incomes and fewer will work so hard to make that money. Put simply, if people get less from doing something, they’ll do less of it. Toddlers grasp this: they will do more for two pieces of candy and less for one. In the jargon these are known as “deadweights.” That is to say, things that do not happen, economic activity that is wiped out by taxation.

Yes, it’s true that we can buy lovely things with the money that has been taxed, or at least we might. But it is still true that the act of taxing itself reduces economic activity. Worthwhile tax and spend is defined as that which is even more lovely in its results than what we’ve lost by financing it.

The Democrats seem to be unaware of the Laffer Curve. That is the principle that says that after people who produce wealth are taxed to a certain point, they will stop producing wealth. We will reach a point where the only way to pay for our bloated government is to devalue our currency. That is happening to some extent right now. The result of that will be hyper-inflation and a total collapse of our economy. That is the end result of unbridled tax and spend programs.

Where Is The Infrastructure Spending?

Yesterday The Epoch Times posted an article about the infrastructure bill that is currently working its way through Congress.

Here are some highlights from their overview:

$621 billion in transportation infrastructure and resilience. 

    • $115 billion to modernize bridges, highways, roads, and main streets most in need of repair. This includes funding to improve air quality, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce congestion. 
    • $20 billion to improve road safety. 
    • $85 billion to modernize existing transit systems. 
    • $80 billion to address Amtrak’s repair backlog.
    • $174 billion investment in the electric vehicle market.
    • $25 billion for airports. 
    • $17 billion in inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries. 
    • $20 billion for a new program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments and ensure new projects “increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.” 
    • $25 billion for a dedicated fund to support ambitious projects that have tangible benefits to the regional or national economy but are too large or complex for existing funding programs.
    • $50 billion in dedicated investments to improve infrastructure resilience.
    • Building a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers by 2030.
    • Electrify at least 20 percent of the yellow school bus fleet through a new Clean Buses for Kids program.

$180 billion investment in R&D and the technologies of the future:

    • Includes $35 billion in the full range of solutions needed to achieve technology breakthroughs that address the climate crisis and position America as the global leader in clean energy technology and clean energy jobs. This includes launching ARPA-C to develop new methods for reducing emissions and building climate resilience, as well as expanding across-the-board funding for climate research.
    • $15 billion in demonstration projects for climate R&D priorities, including utility-scale energy storage, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear, rare earth element separations, floating offshore wind, biofuel/bioproducts, quantum computing, and electric vehicles.
    • 15 billion in creating up to 200 centers of excellence that serve as research incubators at Historically black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions to provide graduate fellowships and other opportunities for underserved populations, including through pre-college programs.

$300 billion to strengthen manufacturing supply chains for critical goods

    • $50 billion to create a new office at the Department of Commerce dedicated to monitoring domestic industrial capacity and funding investments to support production of critical goods.
    • $50 billion in semiconductor manufacturing and research, as called for in the bipartisan CHIPS Act.
    • $30 billion over 4 years to create U.S. jobs and prevent the severe job losses caused by pandemics through major new investments in medical countermeasures manufacturing; research and development; and related biopreparedness and biosecurity.
    •  $46 billion investment to jumpstart clean energy manufacturing through federal procurement.
    • $52 billion in domestic manufacturers.

…$100 billion in proven workforce development programs targeted at underserved groups and getting students on paths to careers before they graduate from high school.

    • $5 billion over eight years in support of evidence-based community violence prevention programs. Biden is calling on Congress to invest in job training for formerly incarcerated individuals and justice-involved youth and in improving public safety.
    • $48 billion in American workforce development infrastructure and worker protection. This includes registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, creating one to two million new registered apprenticeships slots, and strengthening the pipeline for more women and people of color to access these opportunities through successful pre-apprenticeship programs such as the Women in Apprenticeships in Non-Traditional Occupations.

Please follow the link above for more liberal dreams. Just a note–the bill would not have to ‘invest’ $52 billion in domestic manufacturers if it didn’t plan to increase the corporate tax rate.

Another Misnamed Bill

Yesterday Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill. Just as the Covid Relief Bill was not about Covid relief, the infrastructure bill is not about infrastructure.

The article quotes The Wall Street Journals description of the bill:

Most Americans think of infrastructure as roads, highways, bridges and other traditional public works. That’s why it polls well, and every President has supported more of it.

Yet this accounts for a mere $115 billion of Mr. Biden’s proposal. There’s another $25 billion for airports and $17 billion for ports and waterways that also fill a public purpose. The rest of the $620 billion earmarked for “transportation” are subsidies for green energy and payouts to unions for the jobs his climate regulation will kill. This is really a plan to build government back bigger than it has ever been.

The magnitude of spending is something to behold. There’s $85 billion for mass transit plus $80 billion for Amtrak, which is on top of the $70 billion that Congress appropriated for mass transit in three Covid spending bills. The money is essentially a bailout for unions, whose generous pay and benefits have captured funds meant for subway and rail repairs. …

Note the political irony of all this. Mr. Biden says “public investment” has fallen as a share of the economy since the 1960s, and he has a point. But the main reason is that government spending on social welfare, entitlements and public unions have squeezed out public works. Now he’s redefining social welfare as public works to drive more social-welfare spending, which will further crowd out money for public works and government R&D to compete against China.

Essentially the bill is a place to park all of the legislation the Democrats want passed, but know won’t pass if correctly named.

The article concludes:

That’s not an accident. That’s by design. Rather than stick to real infrastructure needs, Biden wants to use this bait-and-switch to aggrandize power within the Beltway and make everyone more dependent on grants from lawmakers. It is precisely on the same curve as Biden’s entire political career, including his record on honesty and transparency.

Never read the titles of bills–they never tell the truth!