The 'infrastructure' bill is a bipartisan bait-and-switch

After a rare weekend session, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.2-trillion "infrastructure" bill that it claims will rebuild America's crumbling roads and bridges.

However, most of the money that would be allocated in the bill does not address infrastructure, in the traditional sense of the term.

According to Sen. Kristin Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), "Paid leave is infrastructure.  Child care is infrastructure.  Caregiving is infrastructure."

Unfortunately, Gillibrand's rather broad redefinition of infrastructure exemplifies the tone and tenor of the current debate regarding the bipartisan infrastructure deal that seems to be on the verge of becoming law.

Per a White House Fact Sheet, "President Biden believes that we must invest in our country and in our people, creating good-paying union jobs, tackling the climate crisis, and growing the economy sustainably, and equitably for decades to come.  The Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is a critical step in accomplishing these objectives."

The White House Fact Sheet also includes a breakdown of the plan.

Interestingly, the breakdown shows that the bill includes $312 billion on what can rightfully be deemed infrastructure.  This includes only $109 billion for "roads, bridges, major projects."

Yet, according to the White House breakdown, the bill includes $266 billion for what it calls "other infrastructure."  This amount contains $21 billion for "environmental remediation" and $47 billion for "Resilience."

So Biden's 2,700-page $1.2-trillion infrastructure bill, inappropriately named the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, allocates $109 billion for what most Americans understand to be actual infrastructure.

That means about $1.1 trillion would or could be allocated for who knows what, under the left's ambiguous redefinition of infrastructure.

In other words, the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan is not really about infrastructure, under the historic and true meaning of the term.

Fortunately, some senators are speaking up about this.

For instance, Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued a press release, saying, "This is not an infrastructure bill.  It's an infrastructure, Green New Deal and welfare bill.  Only 23 percent of the new spending in the bill is for actual infrastructure."

Sen. Kennedy also points out, "We were told the bill would be paid for.  That's not accurate.  It would increase America's deficit by at least $256 billion.  That's more than the entire GDP of Louisiana.  We were told the bill does not raise taxes.  That's not accurate.  It raises taxes on Louisiana industry specifically."

Probably most worrisome for the vast majority of Americans is the fact that the $1.2-trillion spendathon would almost assuredly increase inflation.

As Sen. Kennedy notes, "[a]dditionally, this bill is an inflation bomb.  I don't usually brag about the expensive places I go, but I just came back from the gas station.  This bill is going to make prices worse."

Kennedy is right about that.

Based on the ironclad law of supply and demand, when the government spends/borrows/prints $1.2 trillion, the value of each dollar declines.

Moreover, when the government showers the economy with $1.2 trillion, that means more dollars are chasing goods and services, which causes the prices of goods and services to rise.

The left is reluctant to admit this.  Why?  Because leftists know inflation is akin to a tax hike — a very regressive tax hike, which hits working-class Americans the hardest.

This seems strange because the left constantly claims that its policies of bigger government and more spending benefit the poor.  In reality, these policies harm the very people they are supposedly meant to help.

What's more, much of the spending in the bipartisan infrastructure bill will enrich politically connected corporations and leftist-affiliated interest groups.

We saw this very phenomenon occur when the Obama administration passed its then-audacious $831-billion "infrastructure" bill in 2009.  As we later learned, that bill gave billions of dollars to so-called green energy companies, many of which went bankrupt when the government subsidies ran out.

Remember the Solyndra debacle?  Or the Beacon Power boondoggle?  Or A123?  Abound Solar?  Ener1?  The list of failures is long.

Perhaps Sen. Kennedy put it best when describing the bipartisan bait-and-switch: "[t]he proponents of the infrastructure bill say that it shows that Washington works.  It does not.  It just shows that Washington can spend money that it doesn't have."

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.

Image: Phil's 1stPix.

To comment, you can find the MeWe post for this article here.