Senators from both parties were truthful in claiming that they worked like the Devil to rush through a hellacious 2,720-page-long $1.2 trillion “Infrastructure” bill.
A mere 23% - about $127 billion of $548 billion in proposed new federal spending – is earmarked for popular priorities that most people associate with that term: highways, bridges, tunnels, ports, and waterways.
Republicans who participated in drafting this monstrosity allowed themselves to get rolled in the rollout of what amounts to the down payment and legislative precedent for the far-left Democrat-Socialist Green New Deal.
Eighteen Senate Republicans have joined Democrats in supporting this stalking horse for a massive transfer of money and control from the private sector, governors, and state and local municipalities, to federal government agencies and technocrats who are hell-bent on deciding what cars we drive, what energy we consume, and what companies deserve taxpayer subsidies to leverage special advantages in the marketplace of ideas and economic competition.
Although the bill will very likely pass in the Senate, it will face a more complicated hurdle - but with results also representing even more dangerous consequences - on the House side.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she won’t bring infrastructure up for a hearing until the Senate also agrees to handcuff it to a $3.5 trillion (and likely a lot more) social engineering antipoverty and climate bill called the “American Jobs Plan.” That plan would fundamentally remake America in Bernie Sanders’s socialist vision.
The Infrastructure bill jump-starts that agenda under items which include a $21 billion catchall category of climate “resilience and western water storage,” and a free-spending $21.5 billion blowout for the Department of Energy’s new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, otherwise known as Secretary Jennifer Granholm’s “green-energy venture-capital fund.”
Some may recall that this is the same former Michigan Gov. Granholm who brings lots of her own experience in the green energy boondoggle department.
Between 2003 to 2011, during her governorship, Granholm handed out hundreds of millions of dollars to many politically- favored and ultimately failing “green” startups.
One of those companies was A123 Systems, a fledgling electric-car battery manufacturer that received a $249 million DOE grant plus another $125 million in Michigan state tax credits. The company soon went bust in 2012, about the same time its prime customer, Fisker Automotive, also did.
Fisker, a company actively promoted by then-Vice President Joe Biden in his backyard of Newport, Delaware, had received a $528.7 million DOE loan to develop two lines of plug-in hybrid cars.
As advertised by the Obama-Biden administration, the Fisker project would ''save hundreds of millions of gallons of gasoline and offset millions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2016,'' and ''result in approximately 5,000 jobs created or saved for domestic parts suppliers and thousands more to manufacture a plug-in hybrid in the U.S.''
When the company went belly up, zero cars had been manufactured in the United States — despite the hefty cost footed by America.
Granholm also offered battery manufacturer LG Chem $125 million on top of the $150 million in DOE stimulus dollars it received.
LG Chem apparently ran out of clean energy when its employees were caught watching movies and playing games around the clock because they ostensibly had little productive to do.
Mascoma, a biofuels startup, got $20 million from Granholm, and up to $100 million from DOE, for a plant that was never built to convert biomass into cellulosic ethanol.
Granholm also approved $100 million for a renewable energy park that was scrapped.
Other dim projects included some shady solar energy bets including United Solar Ovonic, Evergreen, and GlobalWatt.
According to the Mackinac Center, a Michigan think tank, only 2.3% of Granholm’s investments in the state’s main incentives program met their job creation promises.
Granholm will now be trusted to bet tens of billions on projects that “demonstrate innovative approaches to transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure to harden and enhance resilience and reliability.”
Government bureaucrats and powerful green energy lobbies will determine which approaches and technologies are “innovative” and deserving of start-up and life support outside of the commercial marketplace of demand and performance.
For example, DOE will dole out $9 billion in “loans” for “smart,” “clean,” technologies that can handle power grid disruptions created by heavily subsidized wind and solar in combination with more burdensome electric vehicle (EV) recharging requirements.
Granholm’s slush fund will get another $2.5 billion to enter “capacity contracts” with energy transmission developers that will financially backstop their projects if there’s little demand for that “renewable energy.”
The energy secretary can also designate “national interest electric transmission corridors” where there are constraints in delivering excess renewable energy to markets.
Although New York politicians can continue to block pipelines, this legislation will allow the Federal Energy Commission to overrule states on power lines.
The proposed Infrastructure bill establishes an electric vehicle czar - Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg – with a $7.5 billion budget for plug-in recharging stations that “meet current or anticipated market demands” and “would be unlikely to be completed without Federal assistance.”
In other words, unlike petrol stations funded and paid for by actual traffic demands, the federal government will finance them in order to predict and support a need that doesn’t exist…with an energy czar in charge of pinpointing locations down to the mile marker.
This all might seem ironically amusing at a time when California EV owners (about half of the nation’s total) have recently been instructed not to recharge their vehicles during hot evenings when the sun goes down to avoid limited-supply power outages.
More aptly described as “Sloyndra on steroids,” this behemoth central planning spendathon was originally pitched as a program that would pay for itself through use fees and contributions to economic growth.
That woke fantasy has been harshly reawakened by a Congressional Budget Office review that projects the bill will add $265 billion to the national deficit over 10 years.
As for “pay-fors,” the original Infrastructure budget projection rests on gimmicks – like a claim that by delaying a Medicare rule that will cost money is “saving” those dollars. The bill would extend Medicare provider payment cuts by a year through 2031, just inside the 10-year budget window.
Quoting that famous philosopher, “Unknown,” “You can’t keep dancing with the Devil, and asking why you’re still in hell.”
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 10 books, "What Makes Humans Truly Exceptional," (2021) is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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