Like many Americans, I'm concerned and put off by the size and goals of President Biden's infrastructure package. Even the scaled-down package is unnecessary. Part of the problem is the timing of this massive spending bill. Such packages are often introduced at a time when unemployment is high and people can't find jobs, currently, that is not the case. We certainly do not need to stimulate demand at a time suppliers are suffering huge supply chain disruptions.
people and politicians see government spending on infrastructure as a job
creator and a silver
bullet for our ailing economy I would like to raise a word
of caution, things are not that simple. Several reasons why the timing of this bill is horrible are staring us in the face, the most notable is that currently, no shortage of jobs exists. In fact, employers are having difficulty finding workers due to the fact many people have dropped out of the workforce and lost interest in returning to work in the current era of "covid-lite."
People are ignoring that a great deal of money already in the pipeline for states and local governments has yet to be spent. Much of this money could be used for infrastructure is being sent to governments based on a "use it or lose it" system of distribution. Politicians often view this as "free money" allowing them to use it as they please. With this attitude, it is little wonder so much of it is squandered on stupid programs such as allowing people to ride free on public buses or putting in walking and bike lanes in areas where they will see little use.
Many people have come to think that the money flowing from Washington does not cost us anything because often such bills are shrouded in the message the project will more than pay for itself over time by creating greater growth. The devil is in the details when it comes to such spending. Sadly, politicians often prefer to use such funds on what they view as legacy projects that will shape the future of their area or shiny pet projects that will enrich their cronies. Many of these tend to be rather wasteful and controversial and it is not uncommon to see them plagued by cost overruns.
|Already Cones Galore But No Workers!|
When recently driving the highways of America, I constantly encounter miles and miles of lanes coned off and in the middle of being resurfaced.
Still, I often find there are no workers and little equipment present. Blame it on the way road work contracts are granted of work overseen but this indicates the companies performing the work are already stretched thin. Unfortunately, this tends to result in traffic jams. Having employees trapped in
slow-moving traffic costs businesses a great deal of money and reduces productivity.
Throwing more money at companies already overextended is just asking for shoddy work at a higher price is hardly a formula for economic success. Expect no bargains for taxpayers when this bill gets passed. What it will do is push higher the cost of materials and labor which drives inflation. Ironically, it will also encourage the "premature replacement of good infrastructure" that still has years of useful life. This directly conflicts with the idea of pursuing a "green path forward" which those endorsing the bill claim gives it merit.
An example of this pops up in a recent study about how trading in your old car for a brand new electric
vehicle may be doing more harm to the environment than good. Researchers in Japan
say choosing to keep and drive your older gasoline-powered car longer
is better than crushing it and going new when considering all the energy used to build a new vehicle. In short, research shows keeping older fuel-efficient cars on the
road longer reduces CO2 emissions significantly more than speeding up
the global transition to green technology. A team from Kyushu University says most of the debate over gasoline
and electric cars focuses on fuel efficiency and the CO2 emissions they
produce rather than the fact a rapid transition shoots up "manufacturing emissions."