By Any Metric, Biden Spending Plan Spends Little on Infrastructure

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021, 12:05 PM PERMALINK

President Joe Biden has proposed $2 trillion on “infrastructure” and is expected to soon propose another $2 trillion on “care infrastructure."

While infrastructure like roads and bridges is broadly popular with the American people, there is not much true infrastructure in this plan. Instead, it is the Left’s attempt to expand the federal government and provide a down-payments on socialist policies.  

The first $2 trillion of Biden’s infrastructure plan contains little in true infrastructure spending. Instead, the proposal, which has been dubbed the “American Jobs Plan,” is a liberal wishlist of policies that have little, or nothing to do with roads and bridges.

Depending on which metrics you use, the Biden plan spends as little as 6 percent of the $2 trillion on true infrastructure or as much as 25 percent. Either way, a significant portion of the plan is on policies that have little, or nothing to do with infrastructure:

  • According to some estimates, less than 13 percent of the spending plan is spent on traditional infrastructure including less than 6 percent on roads and bridges, less than 2 percent on waterways, locks, dams, ports, and airports, and less than 5 percent on broadband.
  • fact check by the Washington Post argued that this analysis was misleading. They instead calculated that only about one-quarter (25%) of the Biden plan is spent on traditional infrastructure like “roads, bridges and airports to railways, ports, water systems, the electric grid and high-speed broadband.” 

 

Either way, a vast majority of this spending will go to other projects.

Some of the non-infrastructure provisions in Biden’s plan include:  

  • $400 billion (20 percent) of the entire cost of the bill is for an expansion of Medicaid. This is the biggest single category of spending
  • $213 billion for housing and to increase federal control of local housing markets 
  • $100 billion of additional funding for schools without requiring them to reopen 
  • $50 billion for a new office at the U.S. Department of Commerce 
  • $35 billion for climate science, innovation, and R&D  
  • $10 billion on a uniformed “Civilian Climate Corps” 
  • $174 billion toward consumer rebates for purchasing electric vehicles and funds for the government to buy electric vehicles
  • Implementation of the PRO Act, which would ban Right to Work laws and reclassify millions of independent contractors as employees

 

The plan also includes spending on job training and small-business incubators, various types of research funding, public housing, upgrades to child-care centers, community colleges, VA hospitals, and other items.  

There are a lot of ways you can group these spending initiatives: healthcare spending, education spending, entitlement spending, etc. This may be the first time, however, that they’re being categorized as “infrastructure spending.” Clearly, this is a misleading way to describe these initiatives.

The second part of Biden’s plan is a thinly veiled attempt to invoke “infrastructure” in the name of spending trillions of dollars on progressive priorities, which the Left dubs “human infrastructure” or “care infrastructure.”  As the New York Times explains, this proposal would “spend heavily on education and programs meant to increase the participation of women in the labor force by helping them balance work and caregiving.”  

While this proposal has not been released, it could include the following:  

  • Extending or making permanent expanded subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans to buy health insurance 
  • Extending or making permanent refundable tax credits aimed at cutting poverty 
  • Universal childcare 
  • Universal pre-K 
  • Federal paid family leave program 
  • Federal paid medical leave program 
  • A permanent expansion of the earned income tax credit (EITC

 

Progressives see this bill as an opportunity to further their agenda. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) urged President Biden to run with the idea of “human infrastructure,” citing that, “many of us see a crisis in human infrastructure.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said that the existing plan “is not nearly enough,” and that it “needs to be way bigger.” 

Ultimately, these policies are incremental steps towards the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. They would radically expand the welfare state and give the government more power and control over education and employment benefits.   

The truth is, Biden’s spending plan has little to do with infrastructure. This plan is simply a way to push through leftist pipedreams under the guise of the popular term, “infrastructure.”

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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