Stipulated: the nation really does need to spend a lot of money on infrastructure, and has for decades. The longer the essential repairs and upgrades are kicked down the road, the worse the economy will perform, and the more expensive the eventual bill will be. Yes, during a period of massive inflation caused in great part by an irresponsible Democratic Party spending spree is not the ideal time for trillion buck outlays, but there is no ideal time for trillion buck outlays, and this one is really in that category of things the government has to do.
Only 13 Republicans joined with House Democrats to get the already scaled down bill passed, and those thirteen are being excoriated by conservatives, most Republicans, right-wing blogs and Donald Trump as traitors, dupes and RINO’s. This is because the bill, needed though it is, will supposedly give President Biden a “victory,” and we can’t have that. No, it’s better to have cholera outbreaks and bridges collapsing.
Morons. First, no infrastructure bill in history ever moved a lot of voters to suddenly support the President who signed it. The average American doesn’t know what “infrastructure” means. I bet less than 80% does. Moreover, the impact of such a bill that might have salutary effects the public might notice won’t be realized until after the next Presidential election, in all likelihood.
Sure, the bill has billions in questionable expenditures and pork. Face it: this is unavoidable with mega-bills. This bill also doesn’t include stuff that it should; for example, though a lack of robots at ports is among the major many logistical issues currently disrupting America’s supply chains, the bill explicitly makes automation a non-priority. There is $17 billion earmarked for port infrastructure, with about $2.6 billion is designated for defraying the cost of upgrading equipment at America’s ports, but not to make ports work better, just to reduce air pollution (because climate change is all the matters, after all.) But on page 308 of the 1,600-plus page bill we see: “The term ‘zero-emission port equipment or technology’ means human-operated equipment or human-maintained technology.” Why? Unions! Unions don’t like automation. Democrats like unions.
But I digress. The point being made is that any legitimate infrastructure bill championed by either party will be wasteful and inept, but there is no responsible way to avoid passing one as soon as possible.
The Republicans would have been smart and responsible to really make it a bipartisan bill so they could claim it as their victory too.
To be fair, much of the antipathy over the bill is due to the legitimate distrust the public, and especially conservatives, have over huge projects described in massive documents that nobody can or will read, like Obamacare. It also didn’t help that Biden originally insisted that a massive Leftist wish-list of social programs be passed as a condition of his signing the infrastructure bill, essentially holding the health, welfare and safety of the public hostage to create a nanny state America. Adding to the confusion, and deliberately, was the use of the dishonest term “social infrastructure” to describe progressive goodies that have nothing to do with infrastructure at all. Those are in the other bill.
Now, an ex-President should pay more attention, but still, when Trump called the just-passed bill “a terrible Democrat socialist infrastructure plan,” he showed that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There’s nothing socialist about the government fixing roads, bridges and sewage pipes. But again being fair, the Democrats deliberately muddied the issue, calling the actual infrastructure bill “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” making it sound like a New Deal-type “Let’s create make-work jobs for everybody!” law—you know, socialism— and called the still languishing social and cultural wish-list bill “Build Back Better,” which sure sounds like an old fashioned infrastructure bill to me—and everyone else.
This is no way to run a country.