Column: Infrastructure bill nothing more than ‘bait and switch’

Troy HDR
Photo courtesy Getty Images

Clearly, America requires investment in improved infrastructure. Unfortunately, the current infrastructure legislation will do little to address that. In reality, it is a Trojan Horse, using a misleading title to masquerade a panoply of Progressive goals hidden in 2,700 pages that are far too unpopular, and unwise, to be pushed through honestly. Only 23%, or $550 billion,  of the Senate version would actually be used to rebuild roads, bridges, and similar projects. The touted  purpose of the legislation, to rebuild roads, bridges, and other related major projects, receives only $110 billion of the $1.5 trillion passed in the Senate.

Sen. Kennedy (R-Lousiana) argues that it shouldn’t even be called an infrastructure bill. A more accurate description, he notes, would be a Green New Deal and welfare bill.

Two versions of the legislation range in price from $1.5 trillion-$3.5 trillion, the largest tax and spend measure on record. Neither version will help the nation. Far more harm than good will occur if it is passed.

The concerns are not GOP talking points. Sen. Manchin (D-West Virginia) warns that the U.S. faces “grave consequences” if the $3.5 trillion bill is enacted, sparking inflation. Inflation is still stubbornly set at a 13-year high, with mammoth increases in basic commodities in energy topping the list. Adding several trillion dollars more to the mix could send the economy over the brink.

Paying for the measure could literally destroy retirement planning for vast numbers of Americans.

The Washington Times points out that one way the measure would raise revenue to pay for itself is a gimmick called “pension smoothing.” Which would reduce the amount corporations are required to contribute to their employees’ pension funds and instead use that money to increase their profit margins, allowing a greater tax haul.

Small businesses and family farms would be devastated due to the concept of taxing unrealized capital gains upon death, another desperate attempt to finance the bill.

A Trump-era program to reduce drug costs would be delayed.

Breaking a promise yet again, the Biden administration is seeking to finance the pricetag with  a “vehicle mileage tax.” A Freedom Works review of the concept notes that “The new national motor vehicle per-mile “user fee” pilot program found in Title III of H. R. 3684 is merely a regressive tax by another name. While pundits argue about the costs and benefits of a commercial vehicle mileage tax, the inclusion of passenger vehicles in the program should be a huge red flag for citizens concerned about their growing tax burden.”

Spending in programs included do not even pretend to be infrastructure-related. They include vast amounts for agricultural climate research and other climate-specific programs, including the establishment of a “Climate Corps,” housing programs, purchasing “green materials,” universal pre-K, tuition free community college, providing lawful permanent status for some illegal immigrants, and investments for native housing and health facilities. A review by Brookings favors the legislation, but readily describes its support because it makes “the country more inclusive, environmentally resilient, and industrially competitive…”

Following the political battles to eventually gain passage, a legal challenge may well ensue centering on racially discriminator language. Former New York State Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey argues in Forbes that “…the measure discriminates against whites at every turn … this racist bill locates and hands out jobs and contracts projects based on race, not merit…” As an example, McCaughey points out that “The bill includes grants to install solar or wind technologies and generate jobs in areas decimated by closing coal mines or coal-fired electric plans. Here’s the catch: when contractors bid, the bill says minority-owned businesses will get chosen first. Bad news for white contractors and displaced coal miners, who are overwhelmingly white and need jobs. (Section 40209).”

Whatever the merits (or not) of the proposed infrastructure legislative ideas, they are certainly not infrastructure, making the legislation the largest bait and switch scheme in U.S. history.

More from Around NYC