Last week, our nation’s genius Vice President Joe Biden offered a statement that alienated some of his most loyal fans. “If I blindfolded someone and took them at 2:00 in the morning into the airport in Hong Kong and said ‘where do you think you are,’ they’d say, ‘this must be America, it’s a modern airport,’” Biden said during a speech on infrastructure in Philadelphia.
Mr. Biden had a point, though not for the reason he thinks. The Vice President believes that the government is not spending enough money on infrastructure projects like airports, bridges and highways. If that is the case, why not hold Old Jumpin’ Joe accountable for the taxpayer dollars which have already been put in his care?
After all, it was he who Obama put in charge of the $872 billion stimulus package that the Democratic-controlled Congress passed in 2009. Remember, this is a stimulus that was supposed to reinvigorate our economy while repairing and creating many of the infrastructure problems plaguing the country.
But under Joe’s direction or negligence or both, the vast majority of these funds were spent as political payoffs to Democratic donors and government grants and programs that had not been receiving or were receiving very few federal dollars. Solyndra, which was given $590 million and was bankrupt within one year is just one of the more prominent examples of these wasted funds. The American people have not been given an accurate audit of where exactly these funds were used.
People on both sides of the aisle ought to agree that LaGuardia needs an overhaul. America needs interstates. The electrical grid hasn’t been upgraded in decades. Major bridges are perilously close to catastrophic failures. Sewage plants in most major cities are a few breakdowns away from total collapse.
But the reason the federal government as well as state governments can’t maintain this critical infrastructure is because they continue to spend tax dollars in places our Founders never intended government to ever be involved. Such massive government programs such as the New Deal, Great Society and now Obamacare are sucking money out of the Federal Treasury and ultimately out of the pockets of taxpayers. Taxes continue to rise and yet debt continues to increase as our government continues to pay for programs that cannot be managed properly or sustained.
Politicians at the federal and state level will continue to expand these wasteful programs at the expense of infrastructure. They have no motivation or incentive to seek responsible use of taxpayer dollars because the magic wand of the Uncle Sam will always be there to sprinkle fairy dust of funds. Elected Democrats believe that the government is and should do everything for the citizens, and are willing to curry favor with key constituencies by showering dollars into entitlements, subsidies and social welfare programs.
Republicans are simply gutless. They are not willing to cut a majority of the programs for fear that they will be negatively stereotyped in the media and public eyes. And that stirs the greatest fear in their mind: they just might get voted out of office. The establishment Republicans are not about curbing the growth of government; they think they can manage and run it more efficiently.
For the few conservatives willing to buck the system and dismantle the growing welfare state, men like Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, they find themselves as a small minority. Fighting the Bridge to Nowhere, the Woodstock Museum, shrimp on the treadmill, unemployment benefits to millionaires are just a few of the major pork battles that Senator Coburn has fought. But after 20 years, even Coburn has had enough. Washington has exhausted him. He is packing it up and returning to Oklahoma to return to his medical practice.
If a stalwart conservative like Coburn is giving up, should the rest of us? What are we to do? Should we just give up holding DC accountable and let them spend everything with hopes that one day we might personally benefit from their irresponsibility?
That would be a grave mistake, one that I’m convinced America won’t make. At its core, America is not a selfish nation. Most of us want a better country for future generations. If we bothered to educate our children and ourselves regarding the facts about heading down the path to financial ruin and foreign bailouts, it would become obvious that we’d be a heck of a lot better off with a few more Tom Coburns and a few less Joe Bidens in charge.