As we consider the two bills currently in mortal combat in Congress, I would offer the following observations regarding the question of how much infrastructure spending is too much.
$1.2 Trillion Bill – The Senate passed this bipartisan bill back in early August. It represents “only” $550 billion in new spending for roads, bridges, railroads, power grids, etc. It is currently being held hostage in the House, as the Progressive wing of the Democrats wish to tie it to their more all-inclusive $3.5 trillion dollar “human infrastructure” bill.
$3.5 Trillion Bill – It is highly anticipated that this amount will be negotiated downward over the next week. However, according to Investopedia, it currently includes, in order of magnitude:
- $1.8t for the Finance Committee, for investments in working families, the elderly, and climate change, to provide tax cuts for the middle class, and to lower prescription drug costs, pre-k, childcare, and community college,
- $726b for Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions Committee which includes universal pre-k, childcare, and community college,
- $332b for the Banking Committee providing affordable housing,
- $198b for the Energy and Natural Resources Committee for the development of clean energy,
- $135b for the Committee on Agriculture to address forest fires and reduce carbon emissions,
- $107b for the Judiciary Committee to address permanent status for immigrants,
- $67b for the Environment & Public Works Committee for low-income solar, and,
- $98b for other categories such as technology, clean oceans, Native Americans, Small Businesses, and Veterans’ Affairs.
Conservatives have been highly critical of the second, larger bill. This is true not only because of its potential impact on inflation and our economy, but because they feel it is heavily weighted toward entitlements.
Looking objectively at the list above, and, ignoring for the moment the inefficiencies of government vs. the private sector investments, It would appear that a large portion of the 645-page bill is directed toward providing a method of income redistribution, or Equity.
The Bible Supports Helping the Poor
Scripture does weigh in on this point. We need to help those who are less fortunate. Verses such as Matt. 22:39, 25:40, and Proverbs 19:17, to name a few, speak to the love and compassion we, as Biblical Christians, need to show humanity. However, note that the context in these verses is individuals caring for individuals. Even in Acts 2:45-46 during the early formation of the church, it was individuals voluntarily selling their possessions and distributing them to the poor. When there was a need to provide coordination in support of widows, the church stepped forward in Acts 6:3, not the government. You can’t legislate “equity” as a nation. Support needs to come from individuals and, though this is often ignored, it should be noted that America has had the highest per capita per person donors in the world for the last ten years.
The Bible Also Supports Work Rather Than Handouts
2 Thessalonians closed with a clear condemnation of idleness (2 Thes. 3:10). Other verses promoting a similar position include 1 Tim. 5:13, Ecc. 10:18, Prov. 13:14, 19:15, and many others.
As we look at the changing characteristics of the final “human infrastructure” bill before congress, it is important to keep in mind both its impact on the economy as well as the impact it will have on the future of American’s work ethic. We need to strike a balance between caring for those less fortunate and promoting a socialistic infrastructure that harms us all.