Washington, DC–President Joe Biden on Nov. 15 signed his infrastructure bill, a trillion-plus-dollar handout to left-wing special interests masquerading as a solution to the supply chain crisis he created.
Although the administration touts the bill as a fix, the truth is that the bill is at best irrelevant, and most likely will make the crisis worse at an enormous cost to taxpayers.
Combined, these shortages cause inflation, empty shelves of even basic goods, and shuttered factories because they are unable to get parts and inputs.
This bill, rather than fixing the crisis, pushes a gigantic handout for special interests, radical left-wing activists, and labor unions. The money will therefore not go to supply chains, but to irrelevant make-work projects that please activists and unions, like subsidies for electric cars that have nothing to do with supply chains; spending hundreds of billions on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s “racist” highways; to building trains to nowhere; and to bailing out failed urban transit.
Money isn’t the only issue here. Instead, these projects eat up the resources and workers the private sector needs to build capacity that’s actually needed.
Rather than fixing this crisis, this bill instead uses it as an excuse to push a gigantic handout for special interests, radical left-wing activists, and unions.
For example, warehouses nationwide are at just 3.6% spare capacity—beyond their “capacity to even function ”, yet they are unable to expand because steel, concrete, and even construction workers are scarce.
Meanwhile, the federal government rakes in hundreds of billions of your tax dollars to outbid the remaining workers and resources for activist boondoggles, further starving the projects that are actually needed.
So, what’s in the infrastructure legislation?
Even the useful bits of the bill, such as dredging, roads, and rail, go to projects that have little to do with actual supply chains.
Right now, the most pressing infrastructure issue is port automation, which makes California ports among the least efficient on earth, trailing those of Mombasa, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and against which unions have fought tooth-and-nail for decades.
Alas, the infrastructure bill specifically forbids money for automation, instead spending ports money on emissions reduction.
Even the parts of the bill that are useful, such as dredging, roads, and rail, are for projects that have nothing to do with actual supply chains. Rail spending of $100 billion consists almost exclusively of subways, Amtrak handouts, and the restarting of abandoned rural lines or replacing at-grade train crossings. In the case of roads, most of the money is spent on maintenance, not expansion, including tearing down and rebuilding those allegedly “racist” overpasses.
In the long run, these may be good housekeeping, but tearing up highways, bridges, and rails during a capacity crisis is akin to replacing the roof during a hurricane. The damage is done.
Additionally, these hundreds of billions of dollars shouldn’t even be decided by a distant government in the first place. Local, not Federal, governments have a better idea of what’s needed, while the private sector is more likely to build things people actually want.
At best it will do nothing for the supply chain crisis, and most likely it will only deepen the crisis by hogging resources and disrupting struggling networks.
Instead, what should the federal government be doing? Here’s a concept: go where the problem is; namely, in the ports, with truckers, and the lack of workers. Anything else smacks of looking for a lost contact where the light is better, as opposed to where you actually lost it.
Port unions must be told that automation is coming whether or not they like it, and replace them if they keep stalling. It means standing down on activist-driven environmental and labor mandates that have forced most trucks out of California and threaten to do so nationwide. (Although they have inexplicable recently started to wave “overweight” fines on trucks-fines that actually have to do with safety and fatality rates on the highways)
Finally, it means stopping paying people to sit on the couch instead of taking one of the 10.4 million unfilled jobs—that is, no more benefits divorced from work, whether as stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, or “child allowance” benefits as a shadow universal basic income in order to pander quiet votes.
However, all real solutions would require Democrats to stand up to their special interests, left-wing activists and unions. So, instead, they will likely continue to create crises through incompetence and then use those crises as an excuse to push more activist agendas-leaving American families to deal with rising prices, empty shelves, and closed factories.
If anything, this infrastructure bill is unlikely to alleviate the supply chain crisis, and most likely it will deepen it by hogging resources and disrupting struggling networks at a time when we need them most.
I have totally lost track as to whether this is incompetency, or these folks really are trying to bring the U.S> to its knees. Juries’ out.
To paraphrase “Pirates of the Caribbean: “You’d best start believing in nightmares…You’re in one.”