Thursday, April 01, 2021


It's easy to mock this assertion from full-time 2024 presidential candidate and part-time South Carolina Dakota governor Kristi Noem:

NOEM: I was on a call with the White House today with all the governors talking about the specifics of this package, and I was shocked by how much doesn't go into infrastructure. It goes into research and development, it goes into housing and pipes and different initiatives, green energy, and it really is not an honest conversation we're having.
Housing! Pipes! That's totally not infrastructure!

But let's not mock Governor Noem for this -- it's not just her talking point. It's clearly the focus-grouped right-wing talking point on the bill. Here's what the man Noem was speaking to, Sean Hannity, had to say:
In fact, out of the roughly $2.3 trillion in new spending, only $650 billion is allocated for roads and bridges and general infrastructure. $80 billion -- that’s marked as a handout to Amtrak. The rest of the $2.3 trillion – that is dedicated to retrofitting millions of homes and hospitals and other buildings in an environmentally conscious way and other funds would go toward building new "green" schools.
Here's Newsmax:
President Joe Biden's $2.25 trillion infrastructure bill, set to be unveiled Wednesday, will have allocations for much more than, well, for infrastructure projects, according to details of the plan cited in The Washington Post on Tuesday.

The plan -- according to sources familiar with the details who spoke to the Post -- provides only $650 billion for roads, bridges, highways, and ports.

Also in the plan, the sources said: $400 billion for home care for the elderly and the disabled, $300 billion for housing, $300 billion to revive U.S. manufacturing, and $400 billion in clean-energy credits.

Hundreds of billions of dollars have been set aside to boost America's electric grid and nationwide high-speed broadband, and to work on water systems to make sure people have clean drinking water, the sources said.
A site called Trending Politics also enumerates items in the bill that it says aren't infrastructure-related, among which is
— $80 billion to address Amtrak’s repair backlog; modernize the high traffic Northeast Corridor; improve existing corridors and connect new city pairs....
— $213 billion to produce, preserve, and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable places to live (and we know who will and who won’t ‘qualify’ for these homes, don’t we?)
That's saying the quiet part out loud, with a bullhorn.

Breitbart just throws up its hands, calls the legislation "Joe Biden’s $2.5 Trillion ‘Infrastructure’ Bill," with "infrastructure" in scare quotes, then lists "some of the top 45 spending proposals," including
5. $111 billion to replace 100 percent of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines.

6. $100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools

7. $100 billion to build high-speed broadband infrastructure to reach 100 percent coverage.

8. $100 billion to build a more resilient electric transmission system.

9. $85 billion to modernize existing transit and help agencies expand their systems to meet rider demand.

10. $80 billion to address Amtrak’s repair backlog; modernize the high traffic Northeast Corridor; improve existing corridors and connect new city pairs.
-- all of which seem to me like infrastructure, rather than "infrastructure" in scare quotes, but experts disagree, I guess.

So yes, this is their argument: School buildings and rail lines and power lines and water pipes aren't infrastructure. I'm shocked -- the right is usually much better at this.

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