The Corner

Politics & Policy

Biden’s Infrastructure Bait and Switch

Ron Klain arrives in the White House East Room in Washington, D.C., October 29, 2014. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

White House chief of staff Ron Klain is known as a master of numbers and details, which is why both former vice president Al Gore and President Joe Biden hired him to run their offices. That’s why it’s disappointing to see Klain mislead people about Biden’s massive $2.3 trillion spending bill.

Mike Allen of Axios challenged Klain during a Sunday interview on whether he could reconcile Biden’s claimed interest in working with Republicans with his big-government proposals.

I don’t think it’s big government to fix the ten bridges in this country that are most economically significant and are in serious disrepair,” Klain claimed.

“Most of these Republicans have stood in front of a Rotary Club or a Kiwanis Club and given a speech about how we need to fix our bridges, roads, our highways, our infrastructure. . . . It’s basic, basic things that we’re putting forward.”

Klain has to know better. The Biden bill proposes to spend $115 billion to “modernize” bridges and roads. That represents less than six percent of the bill’s total spending. Even if you expand the definition of infrastructure, Biden’s bill spends more on electric cars than on roads, bridges, ports, airports, and waterways combined.

In carnivals, what Biden is doing is called “bait and switch.” The con artist tries to bait the unsuspecting customer with an attractive offer he likes and then tries to sell him something else entirely. In this case, it’s a massive expansion of new entitlements with a thin veneer of road and bridge repairs slapped on to hide the real spending.

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