By Christopher Harper
By my calculations, every man, woman, and child of the 331 million citizens of the United States should get a benefit of $3.021.14 of the $1 trillion in pork just agreed upon by Congress.
I’m willing to get a little less than others, and I realize that some of the alleged benefits of the program may not become apparent to me.
Nevertheless, I suggest everyone do some calculations about how this megaton barrel of pork will affect you. Here’s an overview of the plan: https://www.investopedia.com/here-s-what-s-in-the-usd1-trillion-infrastructure-bill-passed-by-the-senate-5196817
Pork Barrel No. 1: $110 billion for construction and repair of roads, transportation research at universities, funding for Puerto Rico’s highways, and “congestion relief” in American cities.
I moved from the congested city of Philadelphia and rarely use major highways. To wit, the major highway near my current home in Muncy, Pennsylvania, Interstate 180, is moving along just fine without any new federal funding. Moreover, the state roads near my house, including the street at my front door, have just been redone. Benefit to me: Nada.
Pork Barrel No. 2: $66 billion for railroads include upgrades and maintenance of America’s passenger rail system and freight rail safety, but nothing for high-speed rail. Thirty-nine billion dollars for public transit would provide for upgrades to public transit systems nationwide. The allocation also includes money to create new bus routes and help make public transit more accessible to seniors and disabled Americans.
I love railroads and have traveled throughout the world on trains in China, France, Poland, Russia, and the United Kingdom. But the money here will be spent mainly on the Northeast Corridor, which means that Democrat-held cities will get nearly all of the dough. The same goes for public transit systems, which are almost entirely under Democrat control. Benefit to me: Zero.
Pork barrel No. 3: $65 billion for the power grid to fund updates to power lines and cables and to provide money to prevent power grid hacking.
Can’t the power companies charge their customers for the upgrades? Since PG&E, California’s main utility, is an absolute mess, I suspect a big chunk of the goodies will head to the Left Coast. Benefit to me: Nothing.
Pork barrel No. 4: $65 billion to expand broadband in rural areas and low-income communities. Approximately $14 billion of the total would help reduce Internet bills for low-income citizens.
I live in a rural area and get broadband just fine. Money in my pocket: Zero.
I’ve gone through the rest of the appropriation, including dough for electric buses, electric charging stations, lead-pipe removal, and various other plans. I don’t find anything that will save me money or make my life better.
What Brandon and Congress did accomplish, however, is to add a massive government bureaucracy to oversee all of these projects that won’t get going until 2023 at the earliest.
It’s also important to keep in mind how unwieldy and corruption-prone massive projects become. Take, for example, the Big Dig highway project in Boston. Starting in 1991, the project was supposed to be completed in 1998 for $2.8 billion. Instead, it wasn’t finished until 2007 at the cost of $23 billion—a project tarnished by corruption, design flaws, and waste.
Just think what the Democrats can do with budgets nearly 500 times the original estimate of the Big Dig!
All told, I don’t see any appreciable difference in my life except that I am likely to pay increased taxes to cover the plunder and pork from the almost blank check Brandon and Congress have signed.