What’s the difference between helping the elderly and building roads?
The answer should be obvious, but some members of Congress are having trouble telling the difference.
President Joe Biden’s administration is sparring with Republicans over his proposed $1.7 trillion infrastructure spending package, which includes $400 billion allocated to help care for elderly and disabled Americans.
It goes without saying that caring for the elderly and the disabled is a noble and worthwhile goal. But how does it qualify as infrastructure?
The answer is that the administration’s proposal is not about traditional infrastructure. It’s part of Biden’s broader so-called American Jobs Plan. Building roads is only one part of the agenda. In his American Jobs Plan, Biden says he wants to create union jobs, redress historic inequalities, and solidify what he calls “the care economy.”
In short, the $1.7 trillion bill outlined by liberals in Congress isn’t primarily an infrastructure bill.
If you need more proof of how this plan is hardly about improving infrastructure, look no further than the original deal offered by Biden. The current $1.7 trillion iteration is a “trimmed down” version of a previous $2.5 trillion plan—and only 40% of the original bill targeted infrastructure.
It’s helpful that the proposed bill has been reduced to $1.7 trillion, but the current iteration is still too broad. Spending on veterans hospitals, environmental sites, and electric vehicles just don’t belong in a bill intended to rebuild our nation’s ports, roads, and bridges.
Congressional Republicans are willing to work with the Biden administration, but at a price tag far below what Biden and his fellow liberals want. The GOP’s nearly $1 trillion counterproposal, which it says “sticks to the core infrastructure,” has fallen on deaf ears.
Given the considerable differences between the Democratic and Republican proposals, it’s unlikely the two sides will agree.
It’s a shame our two major parties cannot pass a bipartisan infrastructure package.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gave our infrastructure a C- and projected we need $2.6 trillion to fix the problem.
So, why does the White House insist, for instance, on wage increases for care workers, which is the second-largest piece of its bill? Likewise, the American Society of Civil Engineers didn’t mention investing in university research and development programs, and it certainly didn’t recommend spending to eliminate racial and gender inequalities in university funding.
Inexplicably, it appears Biden instead would be willing to cut funding on transportation, the part of the bill that actually deals with physical infrastructure.
The American economy does not need Biden’s $1.7 trillion pork-barrel package.
The poor April jobs report showed that the private sector is having a difficult time adding jobs, but that’s not because employers aren’t hiring. Businesses would love to hire additional workers, but COVID-19 fears and government intervention are keeping prospective hires from rejoining the workforce. Biden’s bill would siphon off workers from the private sector, further slowing down economic growth.
We need an intelligent, nuanced infrastructure bill, one that’s capable of garnering bipartisan support. Instead, Biden is pushing an employment policy that would do next to nothing to solve America’s infrastructure woes.
If Biden continues down this road, our infrastructure and our economy are sure to be full of potholes.
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