On Friday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg held his first press briefing at the White House to pitch President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
Buttigieg, ever the salesman, described the so-called American Jobs Plan (AJP) as “the best chance in our lifetimes to make a generational investment in infrastructure.”
But as I’ve written previously in The American Spectator, Biden’s proposal is neither a jobs plan nor an infrastructure bill. It amounts to a Green New Deal wish list that will raise corporate tax rates to 28 percent, increase regulations, and raise income tax rates to their highest level since 1968. The middle class will not be spared this tax burden.
Only 6 percent of the $2.3 trillion package is devoted to roads, bridges, and highways. And Moody’s Analytics estimates that it will create only 2.7 million jobs, not the 19 million that Biden, Buttigieg, and other administration officials spent weeks falsely promising.
In order to sell this non-infrastructure bill, Buttigieg has had to redefine the word “infrastructure.”
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “infrastructure” means “the basic systems and services that are necessary for a country or an organization to run smoothly, for example buildings, transport and water and power supplies.”
Buttigieg, who was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, is either unfamiliar with this definition or is deliberately misleading Americans.
On Sunday, Buttigieg was asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if Republicans could undermine the legislation by calling it a pork barrel of left-wing social programs disguised as an infrastructure bill. Buttigieg responded with this:
I very much believe that all of these things are infrastructure, because infrastructure is the foundation that allows us to go about our lives…. To me, it makes no sense to say, I would have been for broadband, but I’m against it because it’s not a bridge. I would have been for eldercare, but I’m against it because it’s not a highway.
That’s a sophist’s way of saying that infrastructure means whatever he and the Biden administration want it to mean.
Buttigieg disingenuously claims that those who do not support federal funding for eldercare in an “infrastructure” bill are somehow against helping senior citizens, when in reality they oppose being sold a bill that isn’t as advertised.
According to Buttigieg, eldercare can now be classified as infrastructure because, he says, it’s just as important as a highway. The same goes for other unrelated items in the bill, including $10 billion to create a civilian climate corps and $5 billion for a “violence prevention program.”
This tactic is nothing new. The Left and other authoritarian regimes have long changed the meaning of language in order to advance their radical agendas.
In March, Biden signed into law a $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” stimulus package of which only 9 percent was related to COVID relief. The bulk of the package amounted to bailing out mismanaged blue states and paying off Democrat-run constituencies. It would have been more aptly named the “Democrat Rescue Plan.”
The Biden administration’s strategy is fairly obvious: First, create legislation that includes a bevy of progressive programs and increases the scope and size of government, but deceptively call it something that sounds more appealing to the average American. Who could argue against creating more jobs or improving infrastructure?
Then, once Republicans and other citizens point out that the bill has virtually nothing to do with its intended purpose, accuse them of not wanting to help minority communities or the elderly.
The Left has always appealed to emotions in order to guilt people into supporting their agenda. They understand that if most Americans were aware of what was actually in their pork bills, they probably would not support them.
When Chris Wallace pressed Buttigieg on Fox News Sunday as to why he incorrectly stated that the AJP would create 19 million new jobs as opposed to 2.7 million, the latter explained the 16.3 million discrepancy like this: “You’re right, I should be very precise. The difference in jobs that that particular [Moody’s] analysis suggests is 2.7 million more. That is a great place to be.”
In other words, who cares what the real number is?
When Biden and the Left attempt to ram legislation through without any bipartisan support, playing it straight with the American people is the least of their concerns. Imprecision is a far more effective way for them to achieve their objectives. But clarity of language is important to understand reality, and tactics like Buttigieg’s can cause citizens to lose trust in their leaders.
Yet in the Biden administration, infrastructure has been redefined and repurposed as the woke word of the day.
Everything is infrastructure now.
David Keltz was a speechwriter for the Administrator at the U.S. General Services Administration from 2020–21 and is the author of the new book The Campaign of his Life and Media Bias in the Trump Presidency and the Extinction of the Conservative Millennial. He previously served as a White House Intern for Vice President Mike Pence. You can follow him on Twitter @david_keltz.