President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion tax-and-spend “infrastructure” plan consists of top-down government centralized planning that has no place in America’s free market capitalist system. Biden’s proposals, which he calls the “American Jobs Plan,” is to be funded through one of the most massive wealth distribution schemes in American history.
The social justice warriors will welcome the Biden plan’s focus on addressing alleged racial inequalities even though infrastructure as normally defined has nothing to do with race. The activists fighting climate change will see billions of dollars pouring into funding portions of their precious Green New Deal, but they are still not satisfied.
Investopedia defines “infrastructure” as “the basic physical systems of a business, region, or nation.” Infrastructure includes “transportation systems, communication networks, sewage, water, and electric systems.” It makes sense for the government to invest some public money in such large public works. Public funding of basic upstream research also makes sense to spur further applied research and development by the private sector that may lead to major technological innovations. Economic studies have shown that private businesses are not incentivized to invest significantly in basic research that they cannot profitably commercialize in a reasonable amount of time.
No rational definition of what constitutes infrastructure, however, would include paid leave or childcare, for example. Yet Biden and his progressive allies seem to think it does.
Biden also wants to bring back the Obama administration’s failed efforts to pick winners and losers in the energy marketplace. Obama had used stimulus money to prop up green energy firms that still went bankrupt. Taking a wrecking ball to the country’s fossil fuel industry will cost many jobs and severely disrupt the energy market to the detriment of the average American. Along with sharply raising corporate taxes that will stunt economic growth, Biden’s plan will likely destroy key elements of the country’s current economic infrastructure. A capitalist economy does a far better job without the heavy hand of government intervention.
To be fair, Biden’s plan does include an estimated $115 billion of government money to modernize thousands of miles of highways and roads and to repair thousands of bridges. Spending on highways, roads and bridges represents the closest items in Biden’s entire plan to genuine infrastructure investments that support the nation’s transportation system.
However, Biden’s top priority with respect to transportation is a gift to the Green New Deal progressives – $174 billion for electric vehicle incentives. Telsa, General Motors and other automotive companies do not need government incentives to build electric vehicles. Telsa alone had a market cap of $649.24 billion as of April 7, 2021. Telsa’s CEO Elon Musk is the second richest person in the world today, surpassed only by Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos. Amazon is expanding its business with investments in the electric vehicle industry. It is outrageous for taxpayers to see their hard-earned money being used to fund electric vehicle incentives when private industry is already doing fine on its own.
In the buildings and utilities category of Biden’s “infrastructure” plan, spending on “affordable housing” is Biden’s top priority. Biden wants to spend an estimated $213 billion on this huge social justice program, which is more than double what Biden envisions spending on either high-speed broadband or modernizing the electric grid. Biden also wants to hand public schools another $100 billion on top of the extravagant largesse that schools have already received under Biden’s so-called America Rescue Plan. Biden is still paying off the teachers’ unions.
Dwarfing even these spending items is the $400 billion that Biden is allocating in his “infrastructure” plan for expanding the provision of in-home care. The expenditure of $400 billion on in-home care is almost eight times as much as Biden is planning to spend in his plan on domestic manufacturing, which is much closer to enhancing our nation’s economic infrastructure than in-home care. The expenditure of $400 billion on in-home care is four times as much as Biden is planning to spend combined to beef up our nation’s supply chain and semiconductor industries. The latter two investments, not spending on in-home care, would help free America’s economy from dependence on China and build a more competitive, efficient infrastructure.
Expanding in-home care may or may not serve a useful social purpose but it has nothing to do with infrastructure as that term is normally defined. Spending to expand in-home care should be removed from a bill that purports to be aimed at enhancing America’s infrastructure and instead be debated on its own merits and voted upon as part of separate legislation.
President Biden said on Wednesday that he is open to “good faith negotiations” on his so-called “infrastructure” proposals. But he added that he would “not be open to doing nothing.” We saw Biden’s my way or the highway notion of “good faith negotiations” in action when he and congressional Democrats rammed through the highly partisan America Rescue Plan through the fast-track budget reconciliation process. Republicans had no input. The America Rescue Plan was supposed to focus on coronavirus relief for the American people but became instead a wish list of progressive social justice expenditures and a payoff to the teachers’ unions.
The Democrats are considering using the same budget reconciliation process to ram Biden’s tax -and-spend “infrastructure” proposals through Congress. This is their way of avoiding a Republican filibuster and not having to take any Republican ideas seriously.
“What I think you can safely say about the new administration three or four months in: It’s a hard left administration,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday at a press conference. “Bernie Sanders is really happy with the way this is going because they’re basically adopting his and [Sen.] Elizabeth Warren’s [D-Mass.] view of what America ought to be like on every single recommendation.”
McConnell is holding out hope that a few Democrats such as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin will come to their senses and defect. “The good news is they have a narrow majority in the House and a really, really narrow majority in the Senate,” McConnell said, “and hopefully there will be some Democrats who share our views we ought to tackle infrastructure in a more modest way.”
Biden and the Democrat majorities in the House of Representatives and Senate may trim Biden’s plan a little around the edges to secure Joe Manchin’s vote. However, with the Biden administration and the Pelosi/Schumer juggernaut applying maximum pressure on all congressional Democrats required to pass the progressive left policy agenda priorities in the so-called “infrastructure” plan, McConnell is likely to be quite disappointed.