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November 16, 2021

Installing the Infrastructure for Inflation

Joe Biden signed his infrastructure plan into law Monday claiming it will help the economy. It won’t.

President Joe Biden basked in the glow of signing his big $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Monday, and the Associated Press tells us it was “before a bipartisan, celebratory crowd on the White House lawn.” The vote in Congress was also bipartisan, and there were a smattering of Republicans on hand Monday. But make no mistake: This is the down payment on the Left’s transformative agenda.

In the House, 13 Republicans bailed out Nancy Pelosi after she couldn’t wrangle enough Democrat votes for passage. In the Senate, it was 19 Republicans who saved Chuck Schumer from infighting among his own caucus. Those Senate Republicans also possibly saved the filibuster, and nearly all of the Republican “yes” voters will either benefit politically back home from the bipartisan gravy train, or they’re retiring and don’t care.

These votes are chess, not checkers.

Nevertheless, Democrats have openly combined their infrastructure bill — a fraction of which is for roads and bridges, with the rest going for subsides ranging from Amtrak to electric-vehicle chargers — with their larger Build Back Better scheme. The infrastructure bill, “as significant as it is, as historic as it is, is part one of two,” said Vice President Kamala Harris. The Democrats’ chess move was to get a few Republicans on board with infrastructure so they could then move ahead on the bigger agenda.

Thanks to accounting gimmicks, we’ve long known the real cost of that bigger bill isn’t $1.75 trillion (or $1.85 trillion, depending on who’s counting), just like it wasn’t $3.5 trillion before Democrats made “concessions.” A little revenue counted here and a little expense deferred over there does not mean the real cost of that bill will be held in check.

In fact, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says that Build Back Better will actually cost $4.9 trillion.

And that is what’s on the table now that Biden has his infrastructure victory, smiling for the cameras with Republican help. “They gave Joe Biden a political win,” Senator Ted Cruz said of his fellow Republicans. “He will now go across the country touting, look at this big bipartisan win. And that additional momentum, unfortunately, makes it more likely that they whip their Democrats into shape and pass some multitrillion-dollar spending bill on top of this.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki insisted Monday, “We see this as an opportunity because we know that the president’s agenda is quite popular.” There may be some truth to that depending on what Leftmedia polls you trust, but it’s rather humorous that by her telling, the reason Biden/Harris poll numbers are in the toilet is not because of what they’ve been doing for 10 months, but because his agenda has been stalled.

Anybody seen a fact-checker?

Speaking of needing a fact-check, the AP tells us a whopper: “Historians, economists and engineers interviewed by The Associated Press welcomed Biden’s efforts. But they stressed that $1 trillion was not nearly enough to overcome the government’s failure for decades to maintain and upgrade the country’s infrastructure.”

Let’s call that “missing context.” The problem with American infrastructure isn’t that too few dollars have been allocated. It’s that those dollars have been grossly misspent. Federal infrastructure projects are routinely behind schedule and over budget, and are generally the most expensive boondoggles in the country. That, combined with countless other wasteful programs, is why we’re nearly $29 trillion in debt and have deficient infrastructure.

In fact, the federal government’s profligate printing and spending of massive amounts of money over the last two years in particular is largely why the economy is struggling and inflation is running wild. “The U.S. government spent more than 30% of the country’s annual total economic output to try to stimulate the economy,” says Neil Patel. The result has been inflation.

Even the president notices that now. “Inflation hurts Americans [sic] pocketbooks, and reversing this trend is a top priority for me,” Biden said in a statement last week. But his “solution” is to do more of what caused the problem. Sure, America needs investment in infrastructure. But if anyone can figure out how to maximize the expense while minimizing the benefit, it’s a 50-year swamp creature like Biden and the congressional Democrats who crafted his legislative agenda.

“Nobody elected him to be FDR,” said Virginia Democrat Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. “They elected him to be normal and stop the chaos.” Maybe it’s time Biden took down that giant portrait of Franklin Roosevelt in the Oval Office.

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