It’s hard for me to understand how Democrats and a handful of Republicans could vote for the recent Infrastructure Bill and lump another one trillion dollars of debt on our children and future generations. The timing is awful, and the bill itself is likely to be the most wasteful spending bill in the history of our country – and sadly that is not a very high bar. Former President Obama, in the midst of a devastating recession, allocated 800 billion for infrastructure, and since then only about 30 billion has even spent on actual transportation infrastructure projects. And now this newest monstrosity. Paid for with higher taxes on working families of nearly all income levels, and our largest employers.
What’s so perplexing about this bill is the timing. We have had COVID related economic challenges, however the broad economic fundamentals remain very strong. Is this really the time to increase every American family’s share of the federal debt another $20,000 when they already owe $225,000?! Do we really want to go borrow another 1 Trillion when we just finished adding 4.5 trillion of new debt in the past year alone?
Proponents would have us believe that all fiscal caution must be thrown to the wind because we have a desperate need for infrastructure spending, and this bill will be the great panacea. Speaking solely about California – that is simply not true. For loading this debt obligation on the back of every working Californian, our state will get a mere 45 billion dollars. And since the spending priorities and execution will be largely driven by our state government, we can expect very little in tangible returns. And forget the 12-15 water desalination projects and major damn and water storage projects we do so desperately need, most of that isn’t even allowed for in the bill!
So what should we expect? Unfortunately, we should expect that our state will allocate and spend with no greater efficiency or effectiveness than they have been spending dollars from our outrageously high state fuel taxes, and our outrageously high state income taxes. And watch for the number of times some California member of Congress crows about a project that will “finally get done” with funds from the new bill – and the project is one that has been promised in years past with state and local taxes that were hiked specifically to benefit infrastructure. If all of this wasn’t so fiscally tragic it would be laughable. But it is – so it’s not. And it is future generations that will carry the burden of higher debt loads and higher interest rates as a result.