President Joe Biden has a problem. He wants to be a transformational president and has an absurdly ambitious far-left agenda, but he has to deal with that pesky Constitution and the fact that Democrats only have razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate. So, in addition to issuing executive orders, how can Biden achieve his agenda? He can redefine basic terms in order to grease the skids for “progressive” change.
Americans broadly support updating the country’s infrastructure, so why not jam in a bunch of leftist priorities under the “infrastructure” umbrella?
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) made the Orwellian redefinition of “infrastructure” explicit on Wednesday morning.
“Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure,” she tweeted.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) explained what Gillibrand’s tweet really meant. “Abortion is infrastructure. Gun control is infrastructure. Forced unionization is infrastructure. Whatever the Left wants is infrastructure. You know what’s not? Roads & bridges. ONLY 5% OF BIDEN’s ‘INFRASTRUCTURE’ BILL IS ROADS & BRIDGES.”
Abortion is infrastructure.
Gun control is infrastructure.
Forced unionization is infrastructure.
Whatever the Left wants is infrastructure.
You know what’s not? Roads & bridges.
ONLY 5% OF BIDEN’s “INFRASTRUCTURE” BILL IS ROADS & BRIDGES. 🤡🤡 https://t.co/jgP3ZEwGCy
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 7, 2021
Cruz used some hyperbole in the statement, but his tweet illustrated the Democrats’ sleight-of-hand on the issue.
The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines “infrastructure” as “the basic systems and services that are necessary for a country or an organization to run smoothly, for example buildings, transport and water and power supplies.”
Politically, infrastructure refers to basic public goods like roads and bridges. According to a New York Times analysis, only $115 billion of Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure bill will go to roads and bridges. The bill marks $80 billion for passenger and freight railways, $25 billion for airports, and $17 billion for waterways and ports. These traditional infrastructure items add up to a mere 10.5 percent of the bill.
A slightly more expansive definition of infrastructure may include the $66 billion for water systems, the $45 billion to eliminate lead pipes, and the $10 billion for federal buildings. These items, along with the other more traditional infrastructure items, add up to $358 billion or 15.9 percent of the bill’s cost. Most Americans support a government overhaul of America’s roadways, railroads, bridges, and ports, but this represents less than a fifth of the bill.
The bill includes green handouts like $174 billion for “electric vehicle incentives,” $100 billion for “electric grid and clean energy” (some costs to update the grid may be necessary but the “clean energy” emphasis carries baggage), $46 billion for “clean energy manufacturing,” and $35 billion for “climate technology.” The bill dedicates $400 billion to “in-home care” for the elderly and those with disabilities. That takes up 17.8 percent of the bill, more than the traditional infrastructure costs.
“Now, since I announced this plan, I’ve heard from my Republican friends… it’s too big. They say, why not focus on traditional infrastructure? Fix what we’ve already got, the roads and the highways that exist, and the bridges,” Biden said on Wednesday.
“I’m happy to have that debate, but let me tell you my view. We are America. We don’t just fix for today. We build for tomorrow. Two hundred years ago, trains weren’t traditional infrastructure, either, until America made a choice to lay down tracks across the country. Highways weren’t traditional infrastructure, until we allowed ourselves to imagine that roads could connect our nation across state lines,” he argued.
Biden insisted that “infrastructure” isn’t a static thing.
“The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs, and it’s evolving again today,” he argued.
So what does “infrastructure” really mean? According to Biden, it boils down to whatever “working people” need — or rather, whatever the Democrats say working people need.
“We need to start seeing infrastructure through its effect on the lives of working people in America. What is the foundation today that they need to carve out their place in the middle class to make it, to live, to go to work, to raise their families with dignity? To ensure that good jobs will be there for their kids, no matter who they are or what zip code they live in,” he said.
In other words, if Democrats claim that a government program helps “working people,” that’s infrastructure! Perhaps Cruz was being a bit flippant to suggest that Biden would call abortion “infrastructure,” but according to this definition, the intentional killing of a baby in the womb might just foot the bill. If a woman gets pregnant before she plans to, and if she argues that she needs more time before she starts a family, then is her abortion “infrastructure” because it helps her future family?
Democrats have used similar arguments to claim that the Hyde Amendment — which protects pro-life taxpayers from funding abortion — is racist.
Of course, Biden wants to redefine infrastructure in order to justify directing massive sums to the climate-industrial complex in the name of saving the earth from a predicted climate apocalypse that keeps failing to arrive on schedule. Climate alarmists first predicted global cooling, then global warming, now the vague threat of “climate change.” Biden has promised that America will face fewer natural disasters due to his presidency based on baseless claims that fossil fuels exacerbated recent fires, floods, and hurricanes.
Democrats are working overtime to pass massive handout bills — first in the name of COVID-19 relief, now in the name of “infrastructure.” The American people should see through this charade.