MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Infrastructure Bill as Political Plunder and Social Engineering – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on August 5, 2021

With no markets or prices in most instances for finding out where and what types of roads and bridges people might be interested in having produced and supplied for their travels, it has contained all the economic irrationality of other forms of monopolized government central planning.

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/infrastructure-bill-as-political-plunder-and-social-engineering/

by Richard M. Ebeling

Nothing says you really “care” in politics as much as a willingness and, indeed, a demand to spend at least $1 trillion of other people’s money on some supposedly essential public “need.” So, not surprisingly, a bipartisan infrastructure bill is working its way through Congress with just such a $1 trillion price tag.With no markets or prices in most instances for finding out where and what types of roads and bridges people might be interested in having produced and supplied for their travels, it has contained all the economic irrationality of other forms of monopolized government central planning.
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Also, nothing says you are desperate for constituent votes in an upcoming election more than promises to spend large sums of that money in the state in which you will be running for reelection to either the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate. I know that it seems like only a mere nine months ago that we were all being bombarded as voters to cast our ballots for the Office of the Presidency, the 435 House seats, and one-third of the Senate. But it must be remembered that even before the November 2020 election voting results were all fully announced, the winners and a host of new contestants were already looking forward to the elections of 2022 and beyond.

Political Pandering for Donor Dollars

That’s the politician’s dilemma with democracy – no guaranteed job security. Yes, it is true that incumbents have strong advantages that result in members of the House of Representatives being reelected around 90 percent of the time, with the incumbency rate in the U.S. Senate being about 85 percent, when looking over the elections between 1964 and 2018, according to the non-profit “Open Secrets” that tracks national political campaigns and from whom the campaign funding comes. But a politician has to keep making sure that his constituents view him as bringing more taxpayers’ money into their pockets than are going out, for them to keep voting his way every time they cast their ballot.

In the 2019-2020 election cycle, construction companies donated, in total, over $202.3 million to candidate campaigns, while transportation businesses gave more than $147 million in campaign contributions. Labor unions, many of whom are directly or indirectly connected with the construction and transportation sectors of the economy (and therefore government spending), gave $259 million. Considering the hundreds of billions of dollars that will be coming their way in any implemented infrastructure bill, investing hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions to help make it possible does not seem like such a bad rate of return.

Infrastructure Spending Provides Political Profit-Making

While less than the original $2.6 trillion bill that President Biden had proposed earlier this year, the planned infrastructure spending, which includes new or additional spending of about $550 billion, still will have plenty to make happy those who want to have taxpayers cover some or all of their costs of doing business. There will be $7.5 billion to help build electric car charging stations across the United States. There will be $5 billion to pay local communities to switch to electric and lower-emission school buses around the country. There will be almost $40 billion for public transit systems to shift to zero or reduced polluting electric buses.

How convenient this is for electric automobile manufacturers and existing or potential electric fuel station companies and franchises who will not have to actually cover all the expenses of making their products’ price and availability attractive enough for consumers and school districts to be willing and able to buy their electric modes of transportation without Uncle Sam’s fiscal assistance.

See the rest here

This post was written by: Richard M. Ebeling

Dr. Richard M. Ebeling is the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel. He was formerly professor of Economics at Northwood University, president of The Foundation for Economic Education (2003–2008), was the Ludwig von Mises Professor of Economics at Hillsdale College (1988–2003) in Hillsdale, Michigan, and served as vice president of academic affairs for The Future of Freedom Foundation (1989–2003).

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