Government Spending

Senate Republicans Released a $928 Billion Infrastructure Plan. Biden Says It Still Doesn't Spend Enough.

For the president, the spending is the point.

|

For the last several weeks, President Joe Biden has been negotiating an infrastructure spending proposal with a select group of Senate Republicans, hoping to find a plan that can garner bipartisan support. In the process, Biden has revealed how little he cares about infrastructure per se and how much he cares about spending for its own sake.  

Biden started with a plan that would cost about $2.3 trillion, give or take. After Republicans said the topline figure was too high, he released a follow-up offer that brought the total down to around $1.7 trillion. Republicans started with a $568 billion proposal, and yesterday released a counteroffer for $928 billion in infrastructure spending. 

Even the Republican counterproposals are massive sums by any measure, but for Biden they are still not enough. Shortly after Republicans released their plan yesterday, the Biden administration responded by complaining that it did not represent enough new spending, because much of it would be paid for by redirecting unspent funds from previous COVID relief bills. 

The GOP counteroffer was an improvement, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said. But it "still provides no substantial new funds for critical job-creating needs."

The key phrase there is "new funds." Of the $928 billion, Axios reports, about $257 billion would come from new spending; the rest would come from repurposed funds, such as earlier pandemic relief bills where the money has not been fully spent. 

Republicans, in other words, not only proposed nearly $1 trillion in spending on a constellation of projects that Biden says are a priority; they found ways to offset the cost of much of it by redirecting unused money. You might think Biden would be interested in backing that, since it funds his priorities in a way that required less federal funding. Yet his administration complains that the proposal doesn't have enough new spending. 

The spending is the point, almost entirely apart from how the money is spent or what projects it produces. The president is not just concerned about obtaining funding for specific infrastructure projects or programs; he wants to spend money just to have spent it.

That drive to spend—and spend and spend and spend—is how we ended up with a nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill that had little to do with the coronavirus. It is how Biden stuffed his initial infrastructure proposal with what amounted to a lump-sum payout to a friendly labor union. It is how he arrived at a budget proposal that would push annual spending to new peaks while relying on near-record levels of borrowing. And it is why Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin gave a speech this week complaining that even after the roughly $6 trillion in pandemic-adjacent spending that was tacked onto the federal budget over the last year or so, Congress simply wasn't spending enough. It's all part of a push to permanently enlarge the scale, scope, and spending of the federal government. 

It's already costing us even more than planned: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the deficit-financed $1.9 trillion relief bill Biden signed earlier this year will actually cost more like $2.1 trillion once a little more than $200 billion worth of interest payments are factored in. It's costing taxpayers money to spend money. Expect a lot more of that in the months and years to come. 

NEXT: California's Costly Experiment With Online Community College Is a Textbook Example of Government Failure

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I wonder why everyone keeps ignoring what the progressive left is telling them? They have not been shy about it. They have every intention of burning our current system down in order to replace it with their own utopian version of socialism that looks remarkably similar to Soviet era communism. (But it isn’t. It is completely and utterly different. It is democratic socialism. You can look that up. It’s not the same thing at all.)

    1. I’m sorry you ignorant Rethuglicans never attended a college other than your local Bible “college” but anyone who has taken economics knows that the debt doesn’t matter if inflation outstrips deficit spending.

      1. And when does inflation not matter?

        1. At the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade

          1. Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
            on this page…..VISIT HERE

          2. Making money online more than 15$ just by doing simple work from home. I have received $18376 last month. Its an easy and simple job to do and its earnings are GG much better than regular office job and even a little child can do this and earns money. Everybody must try this job by just use the info
            on this page…..VISIT HERE

        2. when it doesnt exist. likenow

          1. Now? April saw the largest increases in non-food, non-energy prices in 40 years.

            1. Look, Chairman Powell and Treasurer Yellen said there isn’t any inflation, so dammit, there ISN’T ANY INFLATION!!!

        3. When it’s caused by factors that have nothing to do with fiscal policy, like right now. A bunch of industries, semiconductors, food processing and building supplies especially, foolishly did long-term downsizing at the start of the pandemic, thinking we’d never reopen. Well, guess what. That creates a supply bottleneck right the way across the economy, when we do reopen. That’s our inflation. Once that is corrected we’ll be back to the low-inflation environment we’ve been in really ever since the housing crash.

          1. The money supply increased 26% YoY in 2020. That’s inflation.

            Temporary imbalances between supply and demand are not inflation.

            Only the Fed creates inflation by expanding the money supply and they’ve been going at it hot & heavy since 2009…

          2. If the total money supply is constant, price increases in one area must be balanced by decreases in other areas (since you can only spend a given amount of money on one or the other). Can you identify where prices have fallen? If not, it seems like the increase in money supply is the culprit.

            1. That requires the total goods to stay the same.

              Total goods shrank. Even if MS had stayed constant, price per good would go up across the board.

              In reality, MS expanded dramatically while goods shrank. That’s bad.

              Now, to the degree that total goods production can be restored to pre-pandemic norms (not guaranteed), that part of the price bump is bubbles, not inflation. But we’re not going to produce 26% *more goods* (compared to pre-pandemic) in the near future.

      2. I’m sorry you’ve apparently never met the typical Democrat voter who put Biden in office. The vast majority of them never even attended college.

      3. Argentina 1988 to 1991. See how it works?

      4. Yes, because the typical college is a self-sustaining enterprise where students learn both economic principals and how to create actual wealth.

        Retard.

      5. This is truly impressive ignorance.

      6. I’m sorry you ignorant Rethuglicans never attended a college other than your local Bible “college” but anyone who has taken economics knows that the debt doesn’t matter if inflation outstrips deficit spending.

        Oh, so very true. It’s just like your cancer doesn’t matter when you have a gunshot wound to the heart. Rejoice, we have found the cure for cancer!

    2. I will never not be amazed how often people ignore what others are specifically saying in order to pretend they didn’t act say such things.

    3. You seem to forget that we do not have mean tweets now and that is ALL that matters.

    4. “The ultimate objective of this strategy—to wipe out poverty by establishing a guaranteed annual income—will be questioned by some. Because the ideal of individual social and economic mobility has deep roots, even activists seem reluctant to call for national programs to eliminate poverty by the outright redistribution of income.”

      50 years of New Left indoctrination has broken this resistance down pretty effectively. Look at what a bunch of entitled slacktivists Gen Z has become.

  2. Interesting Cannabis blog
    read about Indica and Sativa strains. Explore the effects of medical marijuana.

  3. On a positive note, civility and respectability has returned to American politics with the Democrats and President Biden in charge. A budget in excess of 12 trillion dollars is a small price to pay so my children can grow up and know that their president isn’t a sexually violent predator and tax cheat.

    1. their president isn’t a sexually violent predator and tax cheat.

      Statement without evidence.

      1. Statement made in contradiction of evidence.

      2. The good Rabbi left off the /sarc tags.

      3. Pretty clearly a parody account

    2. I don’t think you can make that claim with any confidence in its accuracy.

    3. The Republicans still released a TRILLION DOLLAR spending plan. I don’t give a shit about the civility, your turds are bankrupting my future!

      “Oh, but it’s less than Biden’s plan!”

      Fuck you! That’s your excuse? You won’t destroy the country as fast as the Democrats? Fuck you!

      1. It’s politics; all Republicans can do is limit the damage.

        In the end, it’s the fault of American voters.

    4. Satire? You have to be joking, right?

  4. Why are they even proposing anything? Are they just as stupid as the Democrats when it comes to things that destroy economies?

    GOP = Democrats Lite

    Fucking morons.

    1. No, politically it is smart. The population is the one that is stupid.

      Dems propose to spend money helping Americans and rebuilding “our failing infrastructure.” How do you, as a political opponent, oppose that and not look terrible to the electorate? Instead, you have to propose to spend money and help, but justify it being less to be more financially responsible.

      Until the concept of the government not spending more becomes a politically supported position, we are always going to see politicians playing this game.

      1. Exactly. If they don’t propose a compromise, it’s only a matter of time before the larger figure gets enough support to pass.

    2. Why are they even proposing anything?

      Because they’re jobbers.

    3. Absolutely. There is only one party in this country anymore. It’s just divided up into team colors for show.

      1. So, it’s perfectly OK to just voter straight Communist. They’re all the same anyway.

    4. Theres nothing else they can do.
      Its theBouncing Beach Ball Scenario.

      They have destroyed the Dollar by making it worthless by un- pinning it from gold then multiplied it irrationally to magically create tonf of non- money theyve thrown out the helicopter to cause eternal debt.

      When they stop throwing it out, the massive crash will result in total financial collapse and civil war.

  5. That drive to spend—and spend and spend and spend—is how we ended up with a nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill that had little to do with the coronavirus.

    “Oh, very well. From now on, we’ll just entitle, uh, *name* our legislation ‘The Save Our Democracy Act Number X of 2021’.”

  6. Yo Baby, you want to share a tax credit? Uncle Joe is paying extra for us to make crotch droppings!

  7. “It’s all part of a push to permanently enlarge the scale, scope, and spending of the federal government.”

    Promises made, promises kept.
    Go back and read the democrat party platform.

    1. We are getting the government the electorate voted for, good and hard.

  8. “Yet his administration complains that the proposal doesn’t have enough new spending.

    The spending is the point, almost entirely apart from how the money is spent or what projects it produces.”

    I’m not sure they’re funding the same things.

    Biden’s infrastructure plan isn’t just about bridges and roads. He’s apparently releasing the details of his $1.7 trillion plan today, and we should expect a lot of it to be about Green New Deal items.

    The strategy is to break the Green New Deal up into different bills–some of it in budget deals, some of it in the infrastructure bill, some of it in pandemic relief, etc.

    If the progressives were bothering to use any kind of logic to defend this spending, it would probably be in generally Keynesian terms about how what you spend the money on isn’t as important as whether you spend it, but we probably shouldn’t pretend that Biden is spending money on the same things as the Republicans–when we haven’t really seen the details of Biden’s plan yet.

    “WASHINGTON—The White House is expected to release President Biden’s first budget proposal Friday, offering new details on how the administration would implement plans over the coming decade to spend $4.5 trillion and increase taxes.

    The president is proposing a $6 trillion budget for fiscal year 2022, which begins Oct. 1, according to people familiar with the plans. That includes $1.52 trillion in discretionary spending for the military and domestic programs, including more funding for education, healthcare, research and renewable energy, White House officials said in April.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-budget-plan-fiscal-2022-11622169489?

    Are the Republicans spending this $257 billion on education, healthcare, research, and renewable energy?

    Just on its face, it doesn’t look like they’re spending it on the same things. This isn’t just a fight over the spending itself. It’s also over what they’re spending it on. And it still appears to be the case that if Biden and the Democrats want to pass this bill, they’ll need to do it without any Republican participation in the Senate through budget reconciliation.

    1. Republicans: We had to destroy the economy to save it.

      1. Did you get that from something in my comment?

  9. There is no “spending” limit for crony socialism for population enslavement.

  10. Shovel ready jobs a comin’ gets yer hard hats on.

    1. Nazi Gremany also promised Shovel Ready Jobs..

      free Camp
      train rides
      clothing
      Government paid free health care.

      It killed 11 million.

  11. Don’t worry about inflation: naturally, everyone’s wages will go up and we’ll all be fine. Trust me.

    1. inflation has nothing to do with wage and price. Read an economics book

      1. Inflation has nothing to do with prices? What economics books are you reading?

        1. The assumption that he can read is optimistic.

  12. Why are those two idiots in the picture wearing masks? Surely they are both vaccinated.

    1. bc theyre idiots.

      Projection
      Virtue Signalling
      Arrogance
      Control freak behavior

    2. Just what I was thinking. I assume it is some sort of dog whistle for their voting base. Seeing it a little bit still at local supermarkets.

      Still surprised at how ingrained the politicization of everything has become.

  13. I used to think that economically retarded progressives had a vague sense of how much GDP (or cash equivalent) the government should control: all of it. But now it looks like that their ideas of “budgets” have absolutely no regard for even all the money. Reminds me of how 5 year olds do financial planning.

    1. My 5 year old takes great offense to that. She’s better than most politicians. She can’t borrow or print money though so she’s kind of backed into a corner. She’ll have to help me pick more weeds.

  14. Except infrastructure spending is one of the key ways you help your country anyhow. Studies show each dollar spent there gets you so many more back.

    But hey- just another jackoff Reason writer trying to cover Koch’s ass from having to pay a dime more in taxes that he’d never notice anyway.

    1. Yeah, that’s when you spend it on actual infrastructure.

    2. the only valid “infrastructure” spending for the feds would be interstate highways and ports. all other roads, highways, bridges, etc. are state property and should be maintained by the individual state. 99% of slow joe’s infrastructure is constitutionally illegal spending.

      1. And now they want to actually tear down freeways.

        1. Freeways are racist. (That’s sort of true in a few cities – the poor neighborhoods with lots of black residents seemed to get more new freeways running through or over their parts of town than whitey affluent areas.)

      2. No. Post offices and roads are NOT necessarily interstate. Nor are they about the needs/desires of commuters or voters.

        But the fact is that distribution of money is also a constitutional function. May not like it but that is a necessary and proper result of both the Art1Sec8 authority of Congress and the exclusion of states from that. What is not constitutional is the notion that distributing money MUST be done via a monopoly of broker/dealers at the NY Fed – which is what happens now (actual coinage is completely irrelevant now). What is lacking is either a)the understanding that the status quo is a monopoly with private beneficiaries and b)any notion by states outside North Dakota that they don’t need to simply do federal grants/etc but that they can still do infrastructure without gold/silver coinage.

    3. There’s no possible way to raise enough taxes from the wealthy to pay for all of this, especially since government programs always cost far more than the budget says they will.

    4. The spending on actual infrastructure is, what, about $200 billion?

      You fucking waste of life.

    5. Just because you call something “infrastructure” does not mean it is.
      Politicians have been doing this kind of thing for a very long time. The name is just to fool the kind of people lazy or stupid enough to get their news from headlines.

  15. here’s a newsflash for the libtards: government doesn’t create jobs. in fact government creates nothing.

    1. look at Cuba. Socialist Nirvanah.

      Their Socislist spending circus laid off 500, 000 Gummit workers ( I use workers in a figurative sense) about 10 years ago.

      Da Gravy Train ran out of Other Peoples Gravy!

      1. I’m thinking of retiring there. The beaches are nice, great food, good cheap cigars and rum, pretty women and costs are low.

        Might have to bribe a few government officials but I can avoid the IRS so what’s the difference.

    2. Not true. They create laws, regulation, red tape, confusion…

  16. Fuck you, cut spending.

  17. Is it time for the libertarians to tell us that because Republicans proposed a bill that’s a fraction of the size of the one Democrats want (in order to try to stop the Democrats’ proposal from being enacted), Republicans are “just as bad” as Democrats and “don’t care about deficits” just like Democrats?

    1. Whooppee, we’ll be going over that cliff in the distance at 45mph instead of 90mph.

      1. its all about the sudden stop at thebottom.

        not about whos driving the car off the cliff

      2. The slower you are going, the greater the chance of avoiding going over. It helps to have brakes.

    2. No, it is time for libertarians to say that while Republicans might be better than Democrats in some areas, and Democrats might be better than Republicans in some other areas, both of them *taken as a whole* suck so bad, and fall so far short of any principled commitment to liberty for its own sake, that it is useless to support either one from a libertarian perspective.

      1. Nice False Meme.

        libertarians are democrats that advocate big Govt spending on large projects such as water pipelines as opposed to prog Dems that are about individual welfare.

  18. Another Shovel Ready Lie.

    The only thing Obozos shovel hauled was B.S.
    and laundering money on his banker budfies.

    Watch how much is spent on Illegal Aliens.

    This is a WPA /CCC program as in tge Great Depression.. Note how much is WELFARE to the States.

    If its Fed money it should be used for National projects. It wont, or not only for that.

    Its DEPRESSION ERA BAILOUT.

    And no, its not possible to spend our way out of debt.

  19. Republicans versus Democrats. It no longer matters, when the GOP puts forth a trillion dollar spending plan, then we are truly fucked.

    I don’t give a shit anymore about Team Red versus Team Blue. How can you Trumpistas claim to be better than the other guys when your party keeps promoting spending addons of this magnitude? Not just this bill, bu the shit that was promoted last year, and signed by your Orange Man last year.

    “But it’s smaller than Biden’s plan!” Big fucking deal! You think your petty excuse for a reacharound excuses your buggery? Fuck you and the fuck the party you rode in on.

    1. >>Trumpistas claim … when your party

      addressing two separate entities in this phrase.

      1. the Trolls comments I cant see!

        Handy feature called ” mute the lying Liberal Troll!”

    2. Roads and bridges don’t build themselves.

    3. I don’t give a shit anymore about Team Red versus Team Blue. How can you Trumpistas claim to be better than the other guys when your party keeps promoting spending addons of this magnitude?

      You told us that you used to support the Republican party, went to their caucuses, supported their candidates. So what did you support? A bunch of neocon war mongers, starting one pointless war after another. Shitty theocratic policies. Reprehensible candidates like McCain, Jeb, and Romney. Your GOP failed to make a case for liberty and free markets, failed to reform entitlements, failed to balance the budget, grew the federal bureaucracy, shoved trillions in the hands of GOP-connected corporations, destroyed many of our constitutional protections, and let the progressives take over. Trump was elected as a last ditch effort because the GOP fielded a dozen losers as candidates in 2016 and back-stabbed Paul.

      And after Trump’s election (I didn’t vote for him, btw), rather than reflecting on its failures and trying to make the best out of a Trump presidency, the GOP establishment couldn’t get in bed with the Democrats fast enough and backstab Trump as well. While Trump was in office and the GOP was in control of both houses, the GOP still failed to reduce spending, failed to abolish the ACA, and failed to do most of the other things Republicans supposedly stand for.

      People like you, Brandybuck, are primarily responsible for the mess the country is in. You were supposed to be the political opposition to the progressives and socialists and you completely failed. And now you are throwing temper tantrums and try to shift the blame.

      Thanks, Brandybuck, for reminding me again why I have always despised the Republican party: it’s people like you.

  20. >>Republicans started with a $568 billion proposal

    start @ zero, fucknuts.

  21. Joe Biden takes his advice from Paul Krugman. Krugman, you may recall, pushed for Obama to spend a couple of trillion dollars to goose the economy, complaining that Obama’s $900 billion spending plan wasn’t nearly enough. (Later, after Obama spent even more money, he upped his figure for the proper amount needing spending.) Further, he straight-up argued that it didn’t matter what the money was spent on, it just needed to be spent. He didn’t care if you paid a bunch of guys to go around burying bags of money and paid other guys to go around digging the bags of money up again, just shove the money out the door however you could.

    This, after an endless series of apoplectic fits over Bush spending a shitload of money on the war in Iraq. I guess “just spend the money however you can” has it’s limits for Paul.

    This is of course the normal semi-Keynesian so popular in Washington. Keynes suggested when the economy slows the government needs to stimulate it by increasing spending and lowering taxes and when the economy heats up the government needs to dampen it by decreasing spending and increasing taxes. Both Democrats and Republicans agree, they’re semi-Keynesians in that they firmly believe in exactly half of that proposition – when the economy is slow. When times are good, they suddenly turn into anti-Keynesians and do the exact opposite of what he suggested.

    1. I hear Krugman used to be an economist before he found being a political hack paid more.

      1. First you get the Nobel Prize, then you get the money, then…you get the women.

      2. A geologist, physicist and an economist are marooned on a desert island.

        A can of soup washes ashore. They ponder how to open it. The geologist says, ‘Let’s smash it open with a rock.’ The physicist says, ‘Let’s heat it up and blow it open.’ The economist says, “No that won’t work. Let’s just assume we have a can opener.’

    2. One of the huge failings of macroeconomics vs microeconomics is that the former uses money (usually inflation adjusted) as the proxy for wellbeing. Therefore, concepts like dead weight social loss and consumer surplus can’t be modeled in it. If the government takes a dollar from you and then spends that buck on you, that is just as good as you spending that money on yourself.

  22. I’m considering applying for an infrastructure grant. I need a bigger deck and a hot tub in my backyard.

  23. “still provides no substantial new funds for critical job-creating needs.”

    What ‘critical job-creating needs’?! There are about as many job openings as unemployed. You want to attack the skills/geography mismatch in supply and demand of labor? Fine. But increasing aggregate demand for the sake of increasing aggregate demand in an economy without cyclical unemployment is obscene.

    1. Also, how the heck is taxing profitable companies so they have less money to reinvest in the business so the government can give the money to other businesses supposed to do anyone any good?! Sure, you can give the economy a sugar high right now, but that is the absolute last thing this economy needs right now. The real economic management question is how to manage the end of the current demand overhang and the coming mother of all bullwhip effects (just ask the toilet paper makers and their suppliers how they are feeling right now).

  24. I am making 7 to 6 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 40 dollar Easily .. This is enough for me to happy my family..how ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…Visit Here

  25. Gimme. How much? More.

  26. Biden’s infrastructure plan isn’t just about bridges and roads. He’s apparently releasing the details of his $1.7 trillion plan today, and we should expect a lot of it to be about Green New Deal items.( https://wapexclusive.com )
    The strategy is to break the Green New Deal up into different bills–some of it in budget deals, some of it in the infrastructure bill, some of it in pandemic relief, etc.

    If the progressives were bothering to use any kind of logic to defend this spending, it would probably be in generally Keynesian terms about how what you spend the money on isn’t as important as whether you spend it, but we probably shouldn’t pretend that Biden is spending money on the same things as the Republicans–when we haven’t really seen the details of Biden’s plan yet.

  27. I get paid over $92 per hour working from home. l never thought l’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 53k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. START HERE. http://rep10.com

  28. I am making 7 to 6 dollar par hour at home on laptop ,, This is make happy But now i am Working 4 hour Dailly and make 40 dollar Easily AD .. This is enough for me to happy my family..how ?? i am making this so u can do it Easily…Visit Here

  29. gelatin material
    https://www.matexcel.com/category/products/natural-materials/
    Biomaterials can be classified into two main groups: synthetic and natural biomaterials.

  30. I get paid over $89 per hour working from home. l never thought l’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 29k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. START HERE… http://rep10.com

  31. I earned $5000 last month by working online just for 5 to 8 hours on my laptop and this was so easy that i myself could not believe before working on this site. If You too want to earn such a big money then come and join us…….ThinK80.Com

Please to post comments