Commentary: Too much to ask, or too little?


Karl MPhotography

Pictured above is the Hoover Dam, one of the great infrastructure projects of the 1930s New Deal. Huge infrastructure projects like this one will be set into motion by the new infrastructure bill.

Is 4 trillion dollars too much to ask, or too little?

Recently, Congress passed a federal budget resolution and the House is in the process of considering the proposed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs bill.

This bill, along with the budget resolution, will trigger  the biggest infrastructure projects in almost a century, provide universal pre-k and higher education to economically disadvantaged people, investments in public housing, funding to permanent status for immigrants, and several investments in reducing carbon emissions. 

Senator Bernie Sanders called the budget resolution “the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s.” 

Right now, income inequality is laying waste to our economy. Wages have been stagnant for decades while workers have been more productive than ever and the wealthy have more than even in the 1920s. 

Almost 80% of wealth in this country is owned by millionaires and billionaires, while about 80% of the population is in an average of around $90000 of debt as of very recent years.

What is worrying about this is that after the ‘Roaring 20s’ came the devastating plummet into the Great Depression, one of the main causes of the crash being bankruptcy and high debt; the New Deal only came to scoop everyone up afterwards.

We shouldn’t sacrifice employment from the bill, which is projected to increase by more than 880,000 by 2030. 

The working class have the numbers and spending power to keep up an economy; the super wealthy are not numerous enough. 

It would be foolish to sacrifice the future majority of our population in order to save some money now; that is an incredibly reckless deal.

The bill will cost one trillion dollars and the budget three trillion, a massive price which has drawn out a considerable amount of moaning and groaning from members of Congress about debt from paying the cost of these bills, making it out to be a “reckless” deal.      

First of all, it will be paid over the course of the many years the projects will take to complete. The money isn’t all being spent all at once.

Also, it would best be paid for by increasing taxes specifically for those in the top income tax brackets and big corporations who would not be seriously affected. 

We shouldn’t sacrifice the nation’s clean air or water, either. We need to act fast, because we’re at a point where we have to save, not prevent.    

The cost will only grow in the future for something we needed to act on 30 years ago.

Some people are in firm opposition solely because they feel that parts of the bill and budget are the Green New Deal rebranded. Is this out of willful ignorance of the environmental impact, out of cruel disinterest, or swollen greed? Likely all three.

We know, and we have known for decades and decades the effects of climate change. Now in my lifetime, if we continue to do nothing, parts of the Earth will be rendered inhospitable

There are already massive and undeniable effects on the environment. Hurricane Ida just caused record floods from New Orleans to New York. California has seen record-setting fires in the past few years. 2020 scored as the hottest year on record.

Climate change is already here and we’re racking up the records.

I can’t comprehend how anything in the infrastructure bill or budget resolution is ‘reckless’ spending. We couldn’t avoid the cost any more than a person could stop a bullet with their bare hands.

I don’t even feel like it’s enough to cover everything that requires our attention, but it’s a start.

The only other action we could take is to put off responsibility and watch the bullet hit its mark in the name of idolatry for the dollar. We can’t settle for too little.