I came across an opinion piece in The Hill which argued that Biden’s infrastructure plans are “grossly irresponsible.” While differences of opinion are part of what makes America great, we must be sure that when arguing the pros and cons of policy in the media that we do not purposely mislead readers with half-truths. Rep Donalds and Zander should have heeded Ben Franklin’s warning, “Half a truth is often a great lie.” Or perhaps they did.
It is important to understand here that the “bipartisan infrastructure bill,” or the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, has already passed in the Senate. Separately, the other “soft infrastructure” bill exists only in draft form in Congress. These are two separate pieces of legislation with very different goals.
Now, Donalds and Zander criticism of the latter $3.5 Trillion “soft infrastructure” package is perhaps valid and legitimate. That said, this bill will likely shrink dramatically in scope by the time it gets to a vote (if it ever gets that far). But it is their criticisms of the former bill, the bipartisan bill, that is alarming.
Donalds and Zander bizarrely argue that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is “grossly irresponsible,” because, as they state no less than three times in the same article, it has “little to do with roads and bridges.” Specifically:
Take the $1.2 trillion "hard infrastructure" package, for example. Beyond the glossy bipartisan veneer, the proposal spends less than 10 percent on roads and bridges.
Here’s why that statement is so nefarious: “Roads and bridges” aren’t the only things that constitute infrastructure. Are the railways that bring goods to store shelves not infrastructure? Are the airports that make business travel possible not infrastructure? Is broadband internet that makes working from home possible not infrastructure? What about seaports? Electrical lines? Water pipes? These aren’t infrastructure either?
This isn’t my opinion. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines infrastructure as:
The basic facilities, services, and installations needed for the functioning of a community or society, such as transportation and communications systems, water and power lines, and public institutions including schools, post offices, and prisons.
Almost 100 percent of the bipartisan bill funds precisely those things that are defined as infrastructure…not 10 percent as claimed by Donalds and Zander. This is plainly obvious to anyone who actually read the bill and/or knows what infrastructure is.
Rep Byron Donalds and Skylar Zander mislead readers by suggesting that only “roads and bridges” constitute infrastructure, and then (correctly) point out that less than 10 percent of the bill funds this narrow subset of the package.
Clearly, this is not a legitimate criticism of the bipartisan bill. Rather, it’s a cheap partisan elbow jab intent on injecting the “10 percent” figure into the public conscious. Who could support an “infrastructure” bill where only 10 percent went toward actual infrastructure? No one could.
But that’s all it is, half the truth, a great lie, to steer the public against very reasonable and much needed investments into the future of the nation.