“Infrastructure” Bill – Does anyone still believe in the Constitution? | Opinion

It’s no surprise that Democrats want an “infrastructure” bill. What’s depressing is that the supposedly limited government / federalist Republicans are willing to comply.

Of course, Republicans are complaining about the price tag, arguing that it’s too big, too inflationary. But as to the proposition that it is the role of the federal government to build / repair / expand the “infrastructure” of the states, there is little to no wrangling on the part of the Republicans.

During the administration of former President Donald Trump, Republicans wanted to make similar “investments” in roads, bridges, waterways, and so on. states, insisting that businessman Trump would ensure more efficient and productive use of spending.

Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, voted for President Joe Biden’s $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, saying, “Every President … Trump, who pushed for the passing a $ 1.5 trillion infrastructure bill during his tenure, in his budget. “

No, not all presidents. Some of the early presidents actually followed the US Constitution and insisted that things like a ruined bridge in State A are not the responsibility of the taxpayers of States B to Z.

Yes, the investment-infrastructure train left the station many years ago, but it is instructive to see how far we have come on the tax and spending route while ignoring the constitutional principle that presidents once subscribed to. . Opposing a congressional bill to give money to French refugees, James Madison – known as the “father of the Constitution” and our fourth president – wrote: “I cannot undertake to put the money down. finger on this article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress to spend, for charitable purposes, the money of their constituents. “

During the presidency of James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States, Congress proposed a “build back better” bill to extend the Cumberland Highway. Even though the expansion would unfold and benefit his home state of Virginia, Monroe vetoed the bill only. According to Monroe’s biography on americanpresident.org of the University of Virginia: “Although Monroe personally supported the idea of ​​internal improvements, he objected to the role of the federal government in… a series of projects funded by the federal government and designed to improve and update the country’s roads, bridges and canals. Monroe was concerned … that federal payments for such internal improvements would further expand the power of the federal government in the name of state power. Where would the boundaries be drawn? “

Today, few members of Congress question whether the government should spend money on infrastructure, focusing only on how much to spend.

Constitutional principle is not the only reason “infrastructure” bills are bad. Why should a state put money aside to repair its own bridges when it knows it can spend its money on other priorities, given that sooner or later the federal government is ie all taxpayers, will come to the rescue? After President Jimmy Carter signed the Federal Emergency Management Act of 1979, FEMA began donating money to states facing “natural disasters.” The number of declared natural disasters has skyrocketed. States spent their money on other things knowing that declaring a “natural disaster” would cause an influx of federal dollars.

After Biden’s infrastructure bill, he wants Congress to “invest” in his Build Back Better bill. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently said: “It is going to prove itself to all Americans, as evidenced by the Infrastructure Bill … which will help expand broadband to everyone. world, regardless of your political party. “

“Develop broadband”, which means Internet access? The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, wrote: “The Biden administration is less interested in bridging the digital divide than in transforming America’s successful intermodal competitive system into a public service provided by local governments. Federal intervention… only serves to distort competition, to enrich incumbent operators and to hamper the development of new technologies. … The best way to lower prices is not to tightly control prices and regulate heavily, but to resort to vigorous competition. “

I wrote that half the country believes in a free lunch and the other half prevents them from eating it. When it comes to Democrats ‘and Republicans’ support for federal government spending and “investments” in “infrastructure,” it’s sometimes difficult to know which half is which.

Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally broadcast radio talk show host. His latest book, “The New Trump Standard”, is available in paperback on Amazon.com and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks, and Google Play. To learn more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado”, visit www.LarryElder.com.

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