As supposed conservatives, we once again appear to be ceding ground to the politicians of all stripes** when it comes to Federal authorities and responsibilities. Our latest surrender is the “bipartisan” conversation on an “omnibus” infrastructure bill. Those two words in “scare quotes” are meant to do just that—scare you. And you well should be. It’s borderline axiomatic that when politicians start using words like “bipartisan” and “omnibus,” what we really should hear is “unaccountable,” “pork” and “corrupt to the point where the snouts are down in the taxpayer provided trough up to the shoulders.” You can see more of my general thoughts on public corruption here and here. For now, let’s focus on the issue before us.
On Breitbart News Saturday, hosted by Matt Boyle, the subject was that very issue, a massive, multi-trillion dollar infrastructure project. I had some fundamental concerns, beginning with—should the Federal government even being involved in this in the first place? More on that in another piece.
Boyle’s guest, Republican Congressman Mike Kelly, explained his novel approach to funding this multi-trillion dollar infrastructure project, now in its initial discussion phase. Rep. Kelly’s approach would supposedly not increase debt, nor would it increase taxes. Hard to believe, right? Rep Kelly proposes selling current Federal debt to fund this multi-trillion dollar expenditure. On the surface, this sounds like a “win-win.” The Federal government sells off debt for cash. It uses said cash to fund a huge program of construction projects…all without increasing taxes. sounds great. Right?
Not so fast folks. Taxation actually can serve as a brake on the propensity of politicians to spend money. Having to explain to the folks who are paying the bills, just why they are spending this money, can sometimes, provide an incentive to politicians to at least try to be somewhat parsimonious (I would hope). Kelly’s idea removes all such constraints. Basically, what he proposes, is a huge trough of money that politicians can spread around to appease various constituencies—with no pain borne by the taxpayer…and with no risk at the voting booth. This idea will be nothing more than another opportunity for politicos of all persuasions to “bring home the bacon.” This is akin to a family deeply in debt, using an unexpectedly large tax refund to go on a cruise instead of paying down some of that debt.
The above discussion presupposes that the Federal government should be involved in this business in the first place. Next up: Just why should the Federal Government be involved in funding this boondoggle at all?
**I originally cited Democrats, but upon farther reflection, I changed it to read, “politicians of all stripes,” as, when it comes to pork, all but a few are guilty.
Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.
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