Some dare call it infrastructure, cont’d

I’ve been waiting for some trusted source to take a look under the hood of the 2,700 page bipartisan infrastructure bill. Even before we look under the hood, you know that we should be referring to it as the alleged “infrastructure” bill.

Joel Abbott took an early look at some lowlights in the Not the Bee column “People are finding more and more insane stuff in the 2,702 page ‘infrastructure’ bill. You won’t believe what Congress is spending your money on.”

Today Kim Strassel provides this brief summary in her Wall Street Journal column “The GOP’s Bad Infrastructure Deal.” Unsurprisingly, Strassel finds that the bill is something other than advertised:

[A]ccording to a breakout from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, [the bill’s actual infrastructure] provisions account for about $127 billion, or a mere 23%, of the bill’s $548 billion in new spending. Public transit gets $39 billion, and rail and Amtrak $66 billion, even though a scant fraction of Americans regularly ride them. Then there’s the $21 billion earmarked for “environmental remediation,” or the $50 billion under the catchall category of climate “resilience and western water storage.”

The bill is better viewed as step one of President Biden’s Green New Deal, giving his appointees and federal bureaucrats tens of billions with which to remake the economy. The Energy Department gets more than $20 billion to reprise its failed role as a green-energy venture capitalist. The Federal Emergency Management Agency gets $3.5 billion to deal with flooding. There’s new money for the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forest Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, you name it.

The bill similarly gives the feds unprecedented and centralized control over chunks of the economy. Washington will now dictate rules in areas that have traditionally been managed by local authorities (such as drinking water) even as it muscles in on private-sector enterprises like broadband. The bill turns Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg into an electric-vehicle czar, with authority to pinpoint new charging stations down to the mile marker.

There is more: “The bill creates a $6 billion handout for nuclear companies, which could benefit such paupers as Exelon and Southern Co. And any C-suite that dreams up a program for this-or-that green technology will be in line for federal cash.” And I am sure we have only touched on the lowlights.

Strassel also takes up the fictitious accounting that provides the basis of the spending. The Journal (Strassel, I assume) took up the accounting separately earlier this week in the editorial “The Infrastructure ‘Pay-Fors’ That Aren’t.” Today the Journal adds the editorial (Strassel again?) “The Electric Vehicle Welfare State.”

There is more to come, and worse. All this is to serve as the preface to the $3 trillion “[in]human infrastructure” spending blowout that the Democrats want to ram through next. This particular 2,700-page monstrosity should be more than enough give bipartisanship a bad name.

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