We all know America’s infrastructure needs repair. Crumbling roads and bridges make this clear. Add in lead water pipes, an aging power grid, outdated public buildings, airports and mass transit systems, etc., and the urgency is obvious. President Biden and Republican and Democrat legislators are currently touting a “bipartisan” bill falling far short of what is needed. It is limited by the usual “concerns.” “How are you going to pay for it?” “What programs will we cut to get the money?” “Whose taxes must be raised?” “The government has no money!” “Inflation!”
All of these “concerns” display ignorance or deception from legislators about U.S. government monetary operations. Observe the obvious.
Following the 9/11 attacks when the George W. Bush administration started wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, not a legislator asked “How are you going to pay for it,” “What programs will we cut,” or “Whose taxes will we raise?” Indeed, the Bush administration enacted tax cuts – mostly for the rich. Yet the trillions of dollars to conduct the wars magically appeared and we witnessed the power of the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank (the Fed) to create, out of nowhere, whatever money was needed. Not a soul screamed “inflation!”
In 2008, when the fraud and greed of Wall Street collapsed the economic system and the Obama administration authorized the eventual creation of 29 trillion dollars to bail out the richest of the rich, no legislators asked “How are you going to pay to rescue the rich,” “What programs will we cut,” “Whose taxes will we raise?” The trillions magically appeared, and again, we witnessed the power of the Treasury and Fed to create whatever money was needed. None screamed “inflation!”
In 2019, the Trump administration raised the annual pentagon budget another $34 billion and the Biden administration now seeks billions more. Between the military and Homeland Security, our federal government spends over a trillion dollars every year for “defense.” Where are the legislators from either party saying “How are you going to pay for it,” “What programs will be cut,” “Whose taxes will we raise?” Few are to be found. In fact, in 2017, Trump and Congress again cut taxes – mostly for the rich. Witness the Treasury and Fed creating, out of nowhere, whatever money is needed. None cry “inflation!”
The obvious question – Why can our federal government always create whatever money is needed to bail out the rich or give to the billionaires profiting from the military/industrial/congressional complex, but when it comes to providing anything benefiting average working people (like infrastructure or universal healthcare) “our” government is suddenly “out of money,” and can do nothing to help? The question answers itself. A government of, by, and for the rich, takes care of the rich. Average working people must be kept subservient and living on the financial margin to support this oligarchy, this plutocracy, this government for the rich.
Yet there is a more insidious aspect to the proposed “bipartisan” bill to fund infrastructure – “public/private partnerships.” Suddenly the government that had all the money needed to bail out the rich during the 2008-2009 financial collapse, must “borrow” from the rich to pay for infrastructure. Michael Hudson, Wall Street financial analyst, and distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, explains the process:
“What you are seeing is a financial grab of infrastructure that is taking place by the ability of the commercial [private] bankers to prevent the central bank [the Fed] from creating credit [money]. This results in vast new bank loans. Most of the infrastructure that is being purchased – the water and sewer systems, real estate [roads, public buildings, etc.] is all being bought with borrowed money from the [private] banks. So first of all, the commercial bank political strategy is to prevent the Fed from creating money. And then saying the government needs to borrow from the commercial banks and needs to pay interest to the commercial banks, instead of issuing government created money from the Fed. And then, to pay the commercial interest, they have to sell off the infrastructure. And the result is that bankers today are able to seize the property that in the past it took a military invasion to seize.”
The so called “public/private partnership” is a Wall Street scheme to transfer ownership of our infrastructure to the rich, thereafter forcing working Americans to pay endless rent to the billionaire class on what we had formerly owned.
Think about this. At a time when our nation had much less wealth than today, our parents and grandparents built the world’s finest infrastructure of the era – roads, bridges, interstate highways, schools, sewer and water systems, the power grid, airports and seaports, government buildings, parks – and kept it all in the public domain, all under rent free public ownership. But today, when America is far wealthier, we’re told our federal government is “broke” and we can no longer afford to even repair our roads. Our ancestors must weep in their graves that we, their children, are squandering all they had fought to give us.
We must understand, our predecessors were able to accomplish what they did because they enacted high progressive taxes on the wealthy and corporations which prevented the ultra-rich from owning our politicians and government as they do today. Also understand, we do not need to tax the rich because we need their money. We don’t. The trillions magically appearing out of nowhere to fund the military/industrial/congressional complex and the bailout of Wall Street prove this. We need to tax the rich because, as history shows and we currently see, gross inequality and a “billionaire” class destroy democracy and tear a society and a nation to shreds.
There is a war on the people of America. It is not being waged by terrorists, Russia or China. It is being waged by the richest financial manipulators and their two political parties, the Republicans and establishment Democrats. More effectively than any military, they impoverish and subjugate us all.
To learn more about Wall Street’s schemes to privatize our water and other public infrastructure:
Dave Svetlik of Kronenwetter
Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email email@example.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.