A Battle is Raging for the Soul of America
President Obama was in Miami yesterday talking about the need for infrastructure improvements at the Port of Miami. It's the same song that he's been singing since he was elected president in 2008.
According to the BBC,
Mr Obama outlined his plans at Port Miami, which is undergoing a $2bn (£1.3bn) upgrade and tunnel project.
Among his proposals was $4bn in new infrastructure loans and grants.
He also repeated a call for a $10bn "infrastructure bank" to attract investment for projects that will have the greatest impact on the economy.
The Obama administration is proposing tax breaks for foreign pension funds that invest in US infrastructure, and bonds designed to attract investors in larger projects.
"There are few more important things we can do to create jobs right now and strengthen our economy over the long haul than rebuilding the infrastructure that powers our businesses and our economy," Mr Obama said in Miami.
'Work to be done'
The upgrades at Port Miami - including a tunnel under the bay designed to link a highway with the port - are being funded by taxpayers as well as private investors.
Mr Obama noted that the involvement of several jurisdictions, as well as private companies whose payments were tied to performance, meant "construction workers are on the job digging this tunnel, doing great jobs, getting good pay".
"What are we waiting for?" Mr Obama said, turning his attention to the wider US. "There's work to be done, there are workers who are ready to do it."
I don't have a problem with seeking private funding for infrastructure projects. In fact, I think it's a good idea, one that governments at the state and local levels should pursue independently of the president. But what about the roughly $2 trillion that our nation borrowed and wasted on so-called "infrastructure projects" between 2008 and 2012 that ended up being funneled into the coffers of unions and other groups that supported candidate Obama in 2008?
President Obama needs to give us an accounting. He needs to tell us plainly what he has accomplished with the money that he has already spent before he lends his and our support to more boondoggles. Will he? At this juncture, probably not, but we should demand one anyway.
The point is that I'm very skeptical. Obama is a good talker, but judging by the evidence, any resources that he helps to raise now will be used in the same nefarious manner as those raised during his first term. That frightens me because we can't afford to take on more debt to fund Obama supporters who I fear threaten the survival of this nation.
As I said, raising private funds for infrastructure projects is a good idea, but Obama should limit his involvement to clearing hurdles that stand in the way of progress. Instead, through the EPA and other government agencies, he is building obstacles. That's why I believe the president is just talking.
Enough is enough. It's time for leaders in Congress to tell the president what they expect from him and then hold him accountable for producing results. If he fails to comply, they should use their power of the purse to insist that he toe the line. Truth is, with Democrats in control of the Senate, that's not likely to happen, but if they lose control in 2014, it's a very real possibility.
A battle is raging for the soul of America. It's time for right-minded Americans to do their job and throw Democrats out of the Senate. If they don't, we will get more of the same until 2016 or longer. Under President Obama and his lackeys in the Senate, the likelihood of turning this nation around before it's too late is not good so time is of the essence.
Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.