Last week I offered to help President Biden get his “infrastructure” proposal passed. I suggested cutting off the two-thirds that was not really infrastructure. A few readers felt I was too old-fashioned in refusing to include new, modern items.
So, I want your help in deciding what items in the proposal are really infrastructure in the 2020s. Here’s a list. Mark yes or no: ___Interstate highways and bridges; ___Locks and Dams; ___City water systems (lead pipes); ___Electric Vehicle charging stations; ___Electric Vehicle subsidies; ___Amtrak; ___Sea Ports (upgrade for bigger ships); ___School buildings; ___School teachers; ___Nurses in Nursing Homes; ___Nurses for in-home care; ___Child care; ___Broadband for rural and inner cities; ___Airports; ___Capping old gas wells; ___Carbon sequestration; ___Post Office buildings; ___Insulation for private houses; ___Solar and wind electric generation; ___Tax increases; ___Preferences for Minorities and Women.
(Search for “Fact Sheet: The American Jobs Plan, The White House” for dozens more items.) You may be surprised to know that less than 10% of American infrastructure is Federal. More than half is private; the rest is state/local.
What else belongs in an Infrastructure bill? Would you include: Student loan forgiveness; Car loan forgiveness; Tents for illegal immigrants; Oil pipelines; Border walls; Botox; Toupees and Hair plugs?
Infrastructure has changed in the last 150 years, but not the definition. Consider examples from the late 1800s to now. (Kinda, Will Rogers to Joe Biden): Hitching posts on Main Street to EV Charging stations; Telegraph wires to 5G broadband; Stage coaches to Amtrak; Unpaved roads to driverless vehicles; Kerosene street lights to LEDs;
Can you imagine a hundred years ago the government giving everyone $500 off on a Model T Ford? Or building 5000 filling stations for Standard Oil? Why, that would have made Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller almost as wealthy as Elon Musk. (See first quote below)
Meanwhile… Politicians on both sides get tripped up by old newspaper quotes and videotapes. Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden previously defended the rule requiring 60 votes to pass a bill. Now they want to eliminate that rule so a simple majority of 51 is all the Democrats need. Right now, they desperately want to pass a bill to mandate Federal control of all elections, the so-called infrastructure bill, and add two states. If Sen. Schumer had his wish, Democrats could pass a bill with only 45 votes, even if 55 opposed. Of course, he would demand it automatically revert back to the 60-vote rule if the Republicans get control. (see second quote)
President Biden acted last week to solve one of the biggest problems facing the country. No, not Covid. Not a surge of immigrants. The Supreme Court! Yes, after eighty years of the 9-member Court leaning liberal, followed by two years slanting conservative, Democrats want Biden’s support for adding 6 more Justices to make it liberal for the next eighty years. Now, Joe was not in Congress when FDR wanted to pack the Court in the1930s. But when he WAS in Congress, he referred to FDR and vehemently opposed any attempt to add Justices. Biden is shrewd. To appease the far left Democrats he appointed a Commission because he remembers what Will Rogers said about commissions. (third quote)
Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“This is a very momentous Congress. They have appropriated more money than any Congress ever did, but I guess that is all right; we are not paying our national debt, anyhow. We just keep adding to it, so it don’t matter how much it is anyway.” June 11, 1933
“Many a public man wishes there was a law to burn old records.” DT #627, July 30, 1928
“Appointing a commission is not any crime. It’s been considered a very fine way of handling anything, but it seems like a presidential commission don’t get nothin’ done. They don’t really earn the breakfast that they give ’em at the White House the day they appoint ‘em.” Radio, Apr. 30, 1933