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Thursday, September 23, 2021

OPINION:

As the House Republicans consider their next step concerning the “infrastructure” legislation on which they may be voting next week (depending on the whims of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi), they need to keep a few things in mind.

There are plenty of reasons not to like the non-infrastructure legislation. The primary reason is that it is not about infrastructure.  Less than 10% of its spending is dedicated to roads and bridges.  That may seem crazy in a world where everything is infrastructure, but it’s true. 


The legislation creates a foundation for a tax on miles driven. Such a tax will eventually be enforced by onboard computers automatically reporting to the government how many miles you’ve driven and probably where you’ve gone.  It’s possible that at some point, the government may simply be able to shut down your car for whatever reason.

The legislation already mandates ignition interlocks (breathalyzers) in new cars. You will need to prove you are sober before being allowed to drive your vehicle. It is a short distance from there to authorizing other reasons not to allow you to drive (unpaid bills, or taxes, or simply “anti-social” behavior).

Environmentalists want to get people out of their cars in large measure because vehicles provide access to both prosperity and freedom. This legislation helps the environmentalists achieve their goals.

In the category of “not infrastructure,” the legislation also establishes a protected class based on one’s “real or perceived” gender identity. Page 2149 the legislation reads:  “No individual in the United States may, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that is funded in whole or in part with funds made available to carry out this title.”

This is the first time we know of that gender identity has gained protected status in federal law.  But, hey, it’s all infrastructure.

Finally, and most importantly, the legislation is a gateway drug for the truly destructive reconciliation legislation.  Failure of the infrastructure bill will add kerosene to the already impressive fire burning through the Democratic coalition.  It will empower moderates to go ahead and sink reconciliation.  It will significantly complicate Democratic efforts to deal with both the debt ceiling and the looming government shutdown.

In short, if the infrastructure legislation is defeated, it will shatter the fragile coalition that holds the Democrats together and gut what is left of the destructive Biden agenda.

A vote against infrastructure legislation is the right answer concerning policy and the right answer concerning politics as well.


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