He wants to continue it. Surprise.
Obama pushed today to continue federal funds for transportation needs; he claims the transportation bill “to protect 1 million jobs.”
Those appearing with Obama in the Rose Garden were the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’ David Chavern, et. al.
According to the Associated Press:
“At issue is the renewal of a transportation spending bill that expires Sept. 30. The House is considering a six-year, $230 billion bill paid entirely with current fuel taxes. The Senate proposal would last only two years and cost $109 billion.”
As usual, Obama wishes to sell this expensive bill by way of warning, he said,
“For construction workers and their families across the country, it represents the difference between making ends meet or not making ends meet [...] All of them will be out of a job just because of politics in Washington. That’s just not acceptable. It’s inexcusable.”
Thus, Obama pushed a “jobs package” that included infrastructure and public works projects.
Although Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman criticized Obama for fear tactics, he agreed that both parties are interested in providing federal funds for infrastructure.
Attached to the current highway funding bill is a 18.4% federal gas tax, which will expire with the bill.
The federally-funded highway program uses “$32 billion each year collected by the gas tax, plus a handful of smaller fees and some borrowing to distribute some $50 billion a year to the states for road construction, maintenance and mass transit projects.”
Some have rightly asked: why have tax dollars sent to the federal government only to have them returned to each state?
Although the Constitution provides Congress the ability to raise funds for roads, what if they left the issue to states? Could Congress not delegate this responsibility, at least, to those states that wished to manage themselves?
It is in my opinion that individuals and their respective states know how to handle their own affairs better than Washington does.
Obama’s New-Deal-type “infrastructure” projects, his “jobs” programs, in my opinion are not real solutions. The federal government can not meet state and local needs by intervening with and allocating funds for them from afar. Such intervention, no matter how nicely labeled, will only invite red-tape and inefficiency.
Stimulus packages interfere with reality, redistribute tax-payer dollars (“other people’s money”), and can — at best — provide a few with jobs temporarily.
Just as our former privately-built railway systems were much better suited for the general public than the ones born of the federal government, so it could be with our roads.
The point is, cut the tax and let states — at least those which desire it — take care of themselves.
Photo: Associated Press, August 30
Kyle Ebersole stands for liberty and runs Conservative Action Alerts. Follow Kyle on Twitter @conservativeact.