JASON: You know, we’ve been having some fun about Kirsten Gillibrand’s infrastructure is day care, infrastructure is care giving, infrastructure is anything I want it to be. But she wasn’t the only one who’s making excuses for this massive, massive budget-busting, trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. For heaven’s sake, do you know how much we’ve spent on covid refusal already? It’s $5.7 trillion.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s an argument to be made if the government is going to shut down your business, they ought to make you whole. But the real answer is not to shut down your business. Instead, it was an excuse to spend $5.7 trillion on extraneous items.
Now they move on to “infrastructure,” and it’s another couple of trillion, none of which has anything to do with infrastructure. Which is why the Democrats are running around saying, “Infrastructure is anything you want it to be.” Listen to energy secretary Jennifer Granholm. She’d destroyed Michigan. Now she wants to destroy the country.
GRANHOLM: What is infrastructure? Historically, it’s been what makes the economy move. What is it that we all need to ensure that we as citizens are productive? Infrastructure evolves to meet the American people’s aspirations, and it’s not (snickers) statistic. We don’t want to use past definitions of infrastructure when we are moving into the future — and, by the way, when other countries are investing significantly in their infrastructure to overcome us!
JASON: What a crock. What a crock. Infrastructure is moving people and things, period. Ports, dams, highways, airports. Everybody knows that. And yet if you break down Biden’s infrastructure plan, the Gillibrand-Granholm plan, why, there’s money for public schools, $100 billion. “Child care access.” The National Science Foundation. “Affordable housing. Clean energy.” Electric vehicles and public transit, both of which will drain the Highway Trust Fund.
That trust fund is funded by you, the automobile driver, 23.4 cents a gallon. Guess how much electric vehicles pay into that? Zip, zero, nada. If you want to buy an electric vehicle, I don’t care. But we shouldn’t be subsidizing your purchase every time you do so to the tune of $7,500. We should be making you pay when you charge your electric vehicle, just like gas users pay.
And when you subsidize $100 million-per-mile light rail lines that do nothing for productivity, they don’t pay anything into the highway trust fund either. That’s why it’s broke. That’s why Chris Christie had a pretty good line yesterday. Play cut 10.
CHRISTIE: Here’s what’s not popular. Lying is not popular. It’s not infrastructure, George. If Donald Trump could come out and called a dog a cat, which is what Joe Biden’s doing, we would be outraged by the fact that he’s lying. But with Joe Biden’s somehow it’s like, “Oh, well, come on. It’s Joe.” No, no, no, no. It’s not true.
JASON: He doesn’t know he’s lying, Chris. That’s the problem. Kamala knows it, but Joe doesn’t know it. Rush talked about this not long ago and here’s what El Rushbo had to say.
RUSH: Well, let’s compare the two stimuli. The Obama stimulus, otherwise known as the Porkulus bill, was never going to be spent on the claims Obama made: rebuilding roads and bridges and schools. Everybody knew, on the Republican side, because they know who Obama was and is. Obama is a Big Government liberal, and when Big Government liberals spend Big Government money, it’s usually spent on welfare or similar type things.
In the case of Obama’s stimulus, most of it went to union groups state by state by state. They weren’t any new roads built, other than those already scheduled to be repaired and built. There weren’t any new school repairs, and there weren’t any bridges. None of the things that Obama got the money for actually happened.
But Trump has been very specific about what he wants to use this money for. He wants to rebuild roads, bridges, and he makes a point of airports. And he talks about how dilapidated they are compared to other modernized airports in other places around the world.
And I think all this reflects is a realization on the part of American people. The American people, many of them, and particularly on the Republican side, think the country is falling apart in a whole bunch of different ways. We’re falling apart culturally. We are falling apart in our politics. We’re falling apart politically. And I believe it’s nothing more complicated than people actually do think that we need to modernize some things in this country.
And I believe that if you would deeply ask these people, if you would find these people that make up the people saying 90%, say, agree with the premise, you would find that the vast majority of them think that this is a legitimate responsibility for government, state and federal combined, to make sure that the airports are modernized and not falling apart, to make sure bridges are not gonna collapse down the road, to make sure dams are okay. The stuff that people assume government does anyway, that’s government’s responsibility, state and local.
I mean, the private sector gets hired to do these projects. That’s another aspect of this. You’re gonna spend a trillion dollars, but who’s gonna get it? It’s gonna go to jobs, it’s gonna go to contractors, it’s gonna go to people who get hired to build and rebuild and refurbish these various projects. This money is literally going to end up — I think people trust Trump on this — this money is literally going to end up in the economy. It’s going to end up as commerce. It’s going to create jobs. It’s going to have demonstrable upside results.
I think it’s just a simple matter of trusting Trump when he says this is what he’s gonna do, plus he’s a builder. And they look at Trump’s properties, they see the buildings and other things that Trump has built, and they are all modern, and they’re all state-of-the-art, and they all look cool. And this is what Trump’s expertise is. And I think people agree with Trump when he runs around complaining about the state of infrastructure in this country.
JASON: You know, I’m so glad Rush brought that up. I served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the 115th Congress. We were pushing. We were trying to mark up the Trump infrastructure bill. And when we come back, I’m gonna tell you the exact difference. It couldn’t be more stark. Rush hinted at this, and I’m gonna try to fill in the gaps here, because one infrastructure bill was much less costly. I’ll tell you how we did it: Increased productivity. The other one redistributes wealth. It really is simple as that.
JASON: Congressman Jason Lewis. Now, when I was in the 115th, let me tell you how we handled infrastructure. The president had a $2 trillion plan. Guess how much it would have cost federal taxpayers had the Democrats allowed it to get out of the TNI Committee on which I served? $250 billion to $300 billion bucks. “What?” you say. It’s called the three P’s. Public-private partnership.
We were going to do what Australia has done so successfully, and that is leverage private funds to build the infrastructure. Australia used $5 billion from their central government to leverage over $20 billion in private and state investment, and how you do it was actually pretty simple. You set up a bonus fund at the federal government level.
You say, “If the state government starts to sell off nonperforming public assets to private entities, we will give you a bonus. First come, first served.” So you may have a utility, you may have a housing project, you may have a road, you may have a small airport. You sell that off to a private entity. It gets to the tax rolls instead of sitting there.
They run it better. You take the proceeds from that sale, get a bonus from the federal government at a fraction of the cost, and then you use all that new money on new infrastructure. That’s what we were gonna do in TNI. That’s how Trump could leverage $250 billion to $2 trillion, and it all was going towards roads and bridges and airports.
I shouldn’t say all, but most of it. Now this is gonna cost us a net three trillion or more, when it’s all said and done, from Mr. Biden. And then they’ll add earmarks, which are back — they weren’t back when I was serving — and it’s total chaos. It is, as Rush pointed out, the bridge to nowhere.
RUSH: Obama is going to this bridge. I thought Obama had already been to the bridge. It’s the bridge that affects both Boehner and McConnell, links Ohio and Kentucky, and the bridge… There’s no trouble. The bridge does not qualify for anything stimulus wise. (interruption) No, it’s not falling down. In fact, it doesn’t even need any repairs.
It’s just not big enough anymore to handle the load. They are going to build a second bridge next to it from what I understand, but it’s not gonna start for four years. This is pure, 100% political photo-op. It is optics. It is Obama’s bridge to nowhere. He’s going there and he’s gonna try to tell people that this is an example of the unsafe bridges.
Just like when he was in North Carolina, he cites 153 “structurally deficient or otherwise in-bad-shape bridges.” But he doesn’t identify ’em. He says that four of them are very near where he was, which was near Raleigh, North Carolina, but he didn’t identify them.
So people’s lives apparently were in danger while Obama knew it and was doing nothing about it. In the meantime, we had 800-some-odd billion dollars spent on shovel-ready jobs to fix the infrastructure. It didn’t happen. Instead it went to places like Solyndra and LightSquared. So he’s got a lot of questions to answer.
JASON: I really want to dwell on what Rush was talking about. When I was on TNI, which Chairman Shuster was running it, we had a couple of prerequisites. One, any spending on infrastructure had to increase productivity to pay for itself. So if you build a road and you’ve got more goods being shipped on that road, more people getting the work — hence earning more income — it pays for itself.
If you use infrastructure to redistribute wealth to bail out state government, which is exactly what this does, that does not increase productivity. If you use it to fund mass transit which pays nothing into the Highway Trust Fund or electric vehicles or Solyndra, it does nothing to increase productivity. More than that, the people who are paying for the Highway Trust Fund are automobile users.
That money is being siphoned off by the mass transit account which is building these massive light rail lines which are now our modern-day version of bridges to nowhere. What I described a moment ago was something called “asset recycling.” If you just take a look at the number of federal assets in — let’s just say, my home state of Minnesota alone.
Right now the federal government reports, the GSA reports — at least it did a couple of years ago — over 4,200 assets totaling 11-million square feet of office or storage space. That’s 1,100 buildings. That doesn’t include DOD facilities, doesn’t include other assets. Now you throw in state and local assets; you could sell those off and leverage infrastructure with that new money. They don’t want to do that. That’s why this is such a joke.
Gary in Ohio, you’re on the Excellence in Broadcasting Network. Hi.
CALLER: Thanks for taking my call.
JASON: You bet.
CALLER: Mega dittos to you, and I appreciate the fact that you’re taking Rush’s legacy alive.
JASON: Good. We do too.
CALLER: I’m just curious. With all the executive orders that Joe Biden is signing for the infrastructure, for everything else that he’s done, where has there been any pushback from the Republicans? Whenever Trump signed a piece of paper, there was a judge in California or Hawaii or New York that would file an injunction against him, stop it.
CALLER: What has happened? Why?
JASON: You’re right, and these nationwide injunctions must be visited by the court — and Clarence Thomas has hinted at this — where you have one district judge striking down a Trump executive order for the entire country as they did on immigration over and over again. They’re not doing it for Biden so much.
So I don’t know why the Democrats are so mad at judges. They’re doing their handiwork for them. But you gotta get a handle on these nationwide injunctions, which I think are of questionable constitutionality. You rule for your district, and that’s it. But above and beyond the Republican pushback, earmarks is a pretty good example.
(laughs) We had a… When I got to Congress, we had to decide whether we wanted to reinstate earmarks. I said no. Leadership said no at the time. Now the Democrats reinstate them, so the Republicans go along. You don’t… You don’t win elections by offering the voters an echo. You offer them a choice.