Here Comes the Infrastructure Bill

Congress is rolling out its $1.9 trillion infrastructure bill, and two-thirds of it has nothing to do with infrastructure.

April 6, 2021

By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP

infrastructure The US has some recurring bills that get renewed every so often, and they are doozies. I’m sure you’ve seen me write about the Patriot Act and the Farm Bills when they come up for renewal. These are ugly omnibus bills.

They are ugly not only because of their price tags, but because of all the little things buried in them. Any time someone speaks out against them, they are at once admonished for being against some noble thing.

You don’t want to support America’s farmers?! These same people look down their noses at people in that region of the US. They call them “fly-over states” because that’s the space between New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco. It’s used pejoratively to infer those areas are less sophisticated, often seen as homespun and ignorant.

But they care when it’s time to vote! You think a single politicians cares about Iowa? They care about Iowa during presidential elections. That’s it.

They suddenly care when it’s time to spend too. The Farm Bill is one of those bills where people need to “care about America’s farmers” and the term “fly-over” is replaced with “heartland”.

The infrastructure bill is now up for renewal. This happens every presidential term. Bush had a $286.4 billion infrastructure bill. Obama’s was $305 billion. Trump passed a $1.5 trillion one last July!

This is what they do. And after all that spending, the rhetoric has not changed even a little bit. Much like how universities have become exponentially more expensive, yet qualitatively regressive and debased.

Listen to any of the speeches about the United States’ dilapidated roads and collapsing bridges. The US spends NOT ONLY the billions and trillions in the infrastructure bills, but actual fuel tax to boot!

$0.184 per gallon of gasoline and $0.244 per gallon on diesel just in federal taxes on fuel supposedly to support the roads and bridges. 123.49 billion gallons of fuel consumed by Americans in 2020, which averages about 337 million gallons per day. That is low due to the pandemic. In 2018 it was 392 million gallons per day or roughly 143.5 billion gallons for the year.

Even if all that fuel was strictly gasoline and no diesel, the feds made $26.4 billion on fuel. Plus each state has their own state taxes on fuel ranging from $0.6247/gallon in California to $0.1377/gallon in Alaska. Now add the extra spend coming from these infrastructure bills, and I’m left wondering how the roads in the US aren’t just made of pure gold!

This administration is proposing a $2 trillion infrastructure bill.

That’s half the US GDP. On roads and bridges.

Remember the recent “stimulus bill”? Of the $1.9 trillion allocated to the COVID-19 “Relief” Package passed earlier in the year, independent auditors found a very paltry amount of it was actually earmarked for anything related to the pandemic:

How much of this alleged coronavirus relief plan is actually related to the coronavirus? According to CRFB, just 1 percent of the relief plan’s spending would go toward vaccines, and just 5 percent would go toward pandemic-related public health needs. Meanwhile, 15 percent of the spending—about $300 billion—would be spent on long-standing policy priorities that are not directly related to the current crisis.

The same thing is happening with the infrastructure bill. FEE lists out just nine of the many wasteful items found in the bill:

1. $10 Billion to Create a ‘Civilian Climate Corp’ This has to do with conserving public lands, bolstering community resilience, and advancing environmental justice. I have no idea what community resilience and environmental justice even mean, much less how they relate to infrastructure. But they got $10 billion nonetheless.

2. $20 Billion to ‘Advance Racial Equity and Environmental Justice’ This got more than the advancement of vaccines in the last stimulus bill! This is supposed to increase opportunities, promote affordable access, and advance racial equity and environmental justice. Evidently, Environmental Justice is such a big deal, it’s getting another helping of the infrastructure bill. What this sounds like is political guilt money trying to offset the adverse economic effects of regulations, taxes, and money printing.

3. $175 Billion in Subsidies for Electric Vehicles For as much as liberals complain about large corporate subsidies, they cheer on proposals like these that ultimately (and disproportionately) benefit the very people they resent. The funds will go toward manufacturing subsidies and customer tax credits. But here’s the most laughable part: they’ve allocated more toward subsidizing electric cars than the total $115 billion tomodernize the bridges, highways, roads, and main streets that are in most critical need of repair.” This alone received more money than actual infrastructure.

4. $213 Billion to Build/Retrofit 2 Million Houses & Buildings It’s exactly as it reads. But what does sustainable housing have to do with infrastructure? Evidently there’s another $40 billion in the bill for public housing in particular.

5. $100 Billion for New Public Schools and Making School Lunches ‘Greener’ A few things on this… First, schools aren’t even required to reopen. Why are we building new ones when we aren’t filling the existing ones? Second, this would be in addition to the $128.5 billion in funds they received from the stimulus bill. Of that $128.5 billion, only $6 billion of it is available this year. And what’s with green lunches? They want to do away with the disposable stuff? Wasn’t the disposable stuff what kept things more hygienic?

6. $12 Billion for Community Colleges I got nuthin’. This is also an education bill I guess?

7. Billions to Eliminate ‘Racial and Gender Inequities’ in STEM See #6. Really not understanding what this has to do with infrastructure. I certainly don’t see how this falls into the scope of the federal government.

8. $100 Billion to Expand Broadband Internet (And Government Control of It) This is not being called Net Neutrality because it’s much more than that. This is a bold move toward nationalizing the internet as a state-run utility. And that’s terrifying.

9. $25 Billion for Government Childcare Programs This sounds an awful lot like a welfare program for childcare, and not a thing to do with infrastructure. That’s because it is. States must use it to build and supply more childcare facilities.

It’s estimated that one third of this plan’s spending — approximately $621 billion — goes to “transportation infrastructure and resilience.” That’s $1.28 trillion in spending that really won’t have a thing to do with infrastructure.

What I don’t understand is why people have repeatedly complained there’s not enough money being spent of things like roads or education, but then they never consider looking at how the money is actually appropriated.

And as an added bonus, the Biden administration buried the PRO Act into the infrastructure bill. It’s getting rolled into it.

Government has never had a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. And the fact that even now taxes are seen as punitive rather than a means to provide basic services, despite the glaring evidence before them, gives me little hope for the future. It’s one of major reasons I left.

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