Joe Biden, Cooing Cannibal

I listened to part of President Biden's recent speech congratulating himself upon Senate passage of the $1.9-trillion infrastructure bill — a "bipartisan" plan that seventeen Republicans were foolish enough to support.  The "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act," as it's called, is a mammoth boondoggle laden with union favoritism and minority set-asides — the most corrupt piece of legislation yet, though overshadowed by the proposed $5-trillion American Families Act.

Once again, what stood out was that creepy, sotto voce delivery, leaning into the camera with the look of one who's got what he wants but wants more.  Biden's delivery was not only strange; it was sinister.  What I heard in Biden's delivery was a politician intent on concentrating power in Washington — for his party, for himself, forever.  

In this kind of Hannibal Lecter moment, Biden's voice is truly disturbing because it reveals what no politician should admit: that he lives for power and that power is built upon the ruin of others — the hundreds of millions of Americans who will be harmed, and who are already beginning to be harmed, by Biden's spending plans.  In moments like this, Biden reveals himself as a political kleptomaniac, bound on taking everything and always in the name of doing good "for the children," for the women, for the poor, for the "people of color," for those who are "struggling" and "just need a little help."

The text of Biden's speech begins with the familiar claim that he intends to "transform America ... changing the pattern of life in America."  That is something none of us should wish for.  American life has been, until recently at least, the freest, most affluent, most comfortable and rewarding life on the planet.  Why should we wish to surrender our freedom for a centralized economy in which our speech and behavior, as well as our salaries and job opportunities and education from pre-school to college, are all controlled by the State?

Maybe because he hobnobs with Francophiles like John Kerry, Biden wants the USA to become like France: less affluent (the USA is 62% more affluent than France), less free, less able to defend itself.  Maybe Biden is aiming for his own Légion d'Honneur like the one Kerry got back in 2016.  What progressives like Biden and Kerry really love about France is its concentration of power in the State, and in a State run by a permanent political elite educated at the best schools and nearly impossible to dislodge.

Biden's speech insists that the wealth redistribution in this bill is a form of "investment," a favorite and particularly dishonest word in the progressive vocabulary.  A true investment assumes that a financial return above and beyond the sum invested will accrue or is expected to accrue.  In the case of government "investment," there is no hint of "return on investment" or even, in many cases, of where the money was spent to begin with.  The purpose of government spending is to secure votes and retain power.

One of the precedents cited for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is the highly controversial government backing of the Erie Canal, which was completed in 1825 just as the more efficient system of railroads began operating.  It's ironic that the Albany and Schenectady Railroad was chartered in 1826 and completed in 1831, along with the other carriers that would become the mighty New York Central Railroad, causing canal traffic to peak in 1855 and quickly decline thereafter.  Rail traffic was much faster than canal traffic and offered service to more stations.

Now Biden wants to build his own Erie Canal — a national system of charging stations intended to promote E.V. purchases (which were only 4% of vehicles in 2020).  Government planning always produces boondoggles even as it rewards corporatist supporters, like those who threw the 2020 presidential election to Biden.  If Biden gets his way, America will be plastered with charging stations, but how many of them will be used, and how long until they become superseded by other technology?

The bill would also provide high-speed internet to the poor and to those in rural areas and "upgrade our power grid" so, Biden promises, outages like those in Texas don't occur again.  Biden has a short memory span: the problem in Texas was windmills and solar cells freezing up and being covered with ice, not the power grid.  Now, just as scientists are predicting colder temperatures in the USA as a result of global warming (huh?), Biden wants E.V.s so as to lower the temperature further by burning more coal and natural gas to produce the energy to run them.  Logic was never the president's strong suit.

Further, Biden stated that "everyone ... believe that" [sic] the infrastructure bill will involve a "multiplier effect" — it will result in "billions" in future savings (off a $1.9-trillion "investment") and create 2 million jobs, most of which "won't require a college degree."  I've nothing against blue-collar work, but what's wrong with workers who take the trouble to educate themselves?

At times one couldn't tell what Biden was saying in the speech, as when he announced: "everyone can tell you what the most dangerous intersections in their communities are.  There's money in there to deal with those pac- — those specific needs."  What are those "pac-"s, anyway?  Or when those lead pipes are "finally going to rep- — be replaced."  Or high-speed internet, "so farmers nationwide can get the brest [sic] prices."

After congratulating himself on the infrastructure bill, Biden launched into the American Families Plan, a bill more than twice as expensive and far more "transformational" than infrastructure spending.  This monstrosity contains everything from child care and elder care to home renovation and purchase (the kind of "investment" that led to the last great recession in 2008–9), all paid for with the largest corporate tax increase in American history and with higher taxes on the most productive Americans.

Biden closed by insisting that "nobody, nobody, nobody gets hurt."  (Again, that eerie soft-spoken, lean-into-the-camera fake earnestness in his manner.)  Well, the truth is that "everybody, everybody, everybody gets hurt," just as everybody did in 2008–9 as a result of progressive "free housing" policies.  Not just businesses with their taxes doubled and affluent professionals paying higher taxes, but ordinary Americans harmed by inflation, job losses, and lower wages.

That soft voice — soft, but not kind — is the voice of Big Brother, convinced that he now has you in his grip.  It is the cannibal, calmly explaining why he must devour you, the tyrant as he calmly orders millions to their deaths, the unfeeling lisp of abuse.  What sort of tone will he adopt to announce that thousands of Afghan allies, many of them interpreters for U.S. forces, have been executed just as 22 Afghan Special Forces members were in Faryab Province on August 10?

Conservatives should listen to Biden, to what he is saying and how he is saying it.  Biden is not the senile old fool, the puppet that some believe he is.  He is a cunning, manipulative, totally political animal with a lifetime of experience in duplicity.  Biden's unnatural speaking voice, with its veneer of kindness and its heart of menace, is far from selfless — it is the insidious tone of the political predator intent on consuming everyone and everything.  Listen to Biden, and consider whether you wish to be devoured. 

Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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