This enormous so-called infrastructure plan targets almost two thirds of its spending to non-infrastructure projects and programs
In the Congress today, there are only a handful of issues upon which bipartisan consensus can be built. One of those issues is infrastructure spending.
America’s infrastructure has not had a meaningful upgrade in decades. This means that across the country there are many public transportation assets in real decline and with it there is a corresponding decline in economic efficiency. We know without a doubt that in our beloved Louisiana there are many critical infrastructure needs that are now beyond the stress point and must be immediately addressed.
So, what is the best approach? Well, the smartest approach would be to use federal infrastructure dollars strictly and exclusively for infrastructure. Traditional infrastructure—and the meaning most Americans attribute to the term—includes construction and improvement of roads, bridges, highways, ports, waterways, and airports. (I learned a great deal about these issues when I worked in D.C. in the Congress on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for former U.S. Rep Bill Baker).
However, under the current $2.0 trillion dollar Biden plan, there is roughly only $600 billion that would be spent on traditional infrastructure needs. Even if we include other worthwhile projects such as upgrading wastewater and drinking systems, strengthening and modernizing the electric grid and otherwise “hardening” existing infrastructure, there is still approximately $1.3 trillion dollars left over. Where in the world is that spending going?
Well, the Biden Plan is clear: many billions of dollars will be spent on research and development at the National Science Foundation, to build, redevelop and “retrofit” more than 2 million private homes so they’re “climate friendly,” to fund the manufacturing and purchasing of electric cars and charging stations nationwide, and even home care services and workers. The plan also seeks to eliminate so-called “racial and gender inequities in math, engineering, science and technology” and advance racial equity and environmental justice.
Further, the Biden Plan essentially imposes a ‘top down, ‘one-size-fits-all, central planning approach which mandates increased federal intrusion into the infrastructure decisions of local governments—typically made with local private sector input—in areas such as housing, manufacturing, and energy production, as well as through federal “nanny state’ management of water systems and schools. (Heritage.org).
All of this would, of course, be paid for with massive new taxes on corporations—the original job creators, a steep increase in the global minimum tax, and taxes on book income and many hidden “user” fees.
[By the way, if some of this sounds familiar, it’s because billions of dollars in the plan are for funding “green energy” projects which are based on the Left’s highly disputed claim that human beings are the cause of the earth’s billions-year-old cycle of warming and cooling—also referred to for centuries as “weather”. Much of it derives from Socialist U.S. Rep. Alexandria Occasio Cortez’s “Green New Deal” (or, the Green “Bad” Deal, as many of us refer to it in states like Louisiana with our vital oil and gas industry) which would kill our American economy because the ultimate goal of the Left is no carbon emissions at all. No cars, airplanes and likely no cows].
There may be value to some of these other projects, but they are simply not traditional infrastructure investments and should be separately addressed on their merits in separate legislation, not shoved into one massive debt spending bill with which generations of future Americans will be saddled.
Let’s address real infrastructure first while there is a chance to achieve something and pass a real bill that increases economic efficiency by addressing neglected traditional infrastructure needs. Our aging and decaying local and national infrastructure demand it.
Royal Alexander is a Shreveport attorney.