Remember when President Obama signed the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009?
At the time, it was sold as an “infrastructure” bill meant to spur an economic recovery from the Great Recession.
Two weeks after signing the bill, Obama declared, “Because of Joe [Biden], and because of all the governors and mayors, county and city officials who are helping implement this plan, I can say that 14 days after I signed our Recovery Act into law, we are seeing shovels hit the ground.”
Two years later, Obama lamented, “Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.”
Obama’s so-called infrastructure plan also included a bevy of hand-outs to politically connected “green” energy companies.
Does Solyndra ring a bell? How about Beacon Power? Or A123? Abound Solar? Ener1?
Unsurprisingly, many of those companies filed for bankruptcy, despite hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government.
Always remember, the federal government has a terrible track record picking winners and losers.
Such is why free-market capitalism is superior to government central planning.
However, this seems lost on the Biden administration, congressional Democrats, and far too many Republican senators, who are all-in on President Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan “infrastructure” bill.
As Yogi Berra said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
According to the Biden administration, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will grow the economy, enhance our competitiveness, create good jobs, and make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and just.”
The White House added, “The deal will create good-paying, union jobs. With the President’s Build Back Better Agenda, these investments will add, on average, around 2 million jobs per year over the course of the decade, while accelerating America’s path to full employment and increasing labor force participation.”
So, massive government spending is now the magic elixir for any and all economic woes? Didn’t we try that in 2009?
Like Obama, Biden is also betting big (with taxpayers’ money, of course) on green energy.
Per the Biden administration, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal helps us tackle the climate crisis by making the largest investment in clean energy transmission and EV infrastructure in history; electrifying thousands of school and transit buses across the country; and creating a new Grid Deployment Authority to build a clean, 21st century electric grid.”
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
Yet, President Biden, knowing full well how disastrous Obama’s green energy “investments” turned out, is doubling down on even more government “investments” in so-called green energy.
Here are a few of the green energy “investments” in Biden’s infrastructure bill:
“The bill invests $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers. This is the first-ever national investment in EV charging infrastructure in the United States and is a critical element in the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to accelerate the adoption of EVs to address the climate crisis and support domestic manufacturing jobs.”
I wonder where the power to charge those EVs comes from?
“The deal will deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide, including in rural communities, helping school districts across the country buy clean, American-made, zero emission buses, and replace the yellow school bus fleet for America’s children. The deal invests $2.5 billion in zero emission buses, $2.5 billion in low emission buses, and $2.5 billion for ferries.”
How many students take ferries to school?
“The deal invests $21 billion in environmental remediation, making the largest investment in addressing the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities and neighborhoods in American history, creating good-paying union jobs in hard-hit energy communities and advancing economic and environmental justice.”
What is environmental justice? And what does it have to do with infrastructure?
And, “The deal’s $73 billion investment is the single largest investment in clean energy transmission in American history.”
How much of that $73 billion will go to politically connected companies and individuals friendly with the Biden administration?
Sadly, much of the $1.2 trillion in Biden’s latest spending bill will be siphoned off by corrupt corporations, in bed with the administration. Call it crony capitalism or socialism-lite.
But, under no circumstances, should we allow the Biden administration to claim that this is an infrastructure bill that will fix America’s crumbling roads and bridges. That, it is not.
We have seen this movie play out before, back in 2009.
It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now. That is, unless you are a fan of green energy boondoggles, slush funds for big business, inflation, stagnant growth, and high unemployment.
Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.