Filed under: Politics, Economy, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Taxes, Capitalism, Statism | Tags: The Brent Spent Bridge, "Shovel Ready" Jobs, Government v. Private Sector
It’s not that Obama has fixed ideas, but he does keep returning to the same things over and over, or perhaps it’s his speechwriter. On Friday he was back to the old ‘roads and bridges’ theme. He’s been going on about this for over four years, and perhaps some roads and bridges have been fixed, but I don’t know where.
Obama dredged up an old talking point in a rare press briefing on Friday. Pretty clear why he picked this particular bridge:
“I went to a bridge that connects Mitch McConnell’s state to John Boehner’s state, and it was a rotten bridge — and everybody knows it,” he said. “And I’ll bet they really want to see that improved. Well, how do we do it? Let’s have a conversation about it. That will create jobs. It will be good for businesses.”
The president was referring specifically to the Brent Spent Bridge, a nearly 50-year-old structure that bridges the Ohio River between Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. The federal government has declared it “functionally obsolete.”
In September of 2011, the president campaigned near the bridge, but failed to win Congressional support for the American Jobs Act, which went for tens of billions of dollars in new infrastructure spending. With new funding, Obama claimed, the Brent Spence Bridge “could be replaced right now.” Except that it could not. What he demonstrated then, as now, is that he has no understanding of how these things actually take place, or for that matter, how jobs are created. Andrew Stiles explained the steps in building a new bridge and creating jobs.
The Federal Highway Administration has yet to open the issue to public comment. Even if the necessary funding was in place (it’s not) the earliest possible date for beginning construction would be 2015, with a 2022 completion date. Earliest.
Noise and environmental studies are under way to ensure project compliance with state and federal regulation. The “environmental phase” of the project is estimated to cost $18 million. The project price tag for funding is $2.4 billion. In a typical arrangement the federal government provides 80 percent of the funding, with state and local governments covering the rest. In this case the feds would provide $1.9 billion and state and local governments would need to raise $500 million. So far only about $90 million of their share has been allocated. Even if they were able to come up with funding overnight, actual construction would not begin for at least another four years.
That is how the roads and bridges scenario works out. Environmental impact studies, noise reduction studies, design studies, materials studies and who knows what else—with a public project everybody gets to comment. Finally the entire cost of the project comes out of taxpayer’s pockets. The wages and cost of the workers hired to “create the jobs” are just more government jobs. You haven’t created a job, you’ve added to the government payroll and the cost of government.
The fact that this particular “rotten bridge” crosses the Ohio R. between Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) state and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) state is just the kind of snide comment Obama cannot resist. Has there ever been a president who has less understanding of the bipartisanship he claims as his aim?
But the President does not understand the difference between government jobs and private sector jobs. Government jobs suck money out of the private sector, and are a cost for the businesses that might otherwise grow, expand, and actually create jobs.
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