The passage of the Infrastructure bill seems to have caught political cartoonists flat-footed, with most of the published commentary this morning assuming it remains stalled.
I’m not sure I’d go as far as Steve Brodner and compare it to the coming of the Paraclete — Okay, I’m sure I wouldn’t — but it was still quite a victory for the administration and for people who live in areas with degrading lead pipes and bridges on the verge of collapse.
On the other hand, even paired down as it was, it’s quite a chunk of change, and this is, after all, a democracy, so here’s a proposal to trim the deficit while respecting the will of the people:
Why not proportion the spending to whether or not people in a particular state want it?
The bill only passed by a combined House/Senate vote of 297/236, so let’s reduce it by 44% and then expend it in each state by how much they favored it.
Of course, that’s easy for me to say, because both our Senators and both our Reps voted in favor, so we’d get 100% of our proportional total.
By contrast, six of Alabama’s seven congresscritters said they didn’t want the money, so they’d only get one-seventh of their proportion, while states like Wyoming and South Dakota would get nothing, which would please them, since they were unanimous in not wanting any of it.
Of course, that wouldn’t really work, because Amtrak runs through some of those places, so you’d have to spend that part of the money even in places that didn’t want it.
I’m not claiming the math would be easy.
Still, if certain states don’t want their sections of the Interstate Highway system improved, well, drivers would figure out other routes. ‘Specially once the bridges are out.
As for lead pipes, Mike Lester (AMS) points out that families who object to vaccinations — polio, measles, smallpox, coronavirus, whatever — can simply move away, and, certainly, there’s no reason families can’t also move away if they don’t want their children’s brains damaged by the local drinking water.
Families can also leave if they can’t find work in their home states, since the states that are taking the money should see the bulk of those new jobs. Goodness knows, when the mines closed at home, a lot of our young families left to find work elsewhere.
America, after all, was built by people who moved here because there was no economic opportunity back where they had been living. Back when we let people do that.
By the way, I stopped off at one of the local orchards the other day to pick up a jug of fresh cider and asked how the harvest was going during the pandemic. They responded that it was seamless, since the Jamaican pickers all had to be vaccinated in order to be part of the H-2A program for foreign ag workers.
My guess is that, if we let more braceros come here to work legally, they’d be perfectly happy to gain some protection from the coronavirus as part of the deal.
My other guess is that if an unemployed worker in Alabama wanted work in a wind-turbine factory in another state, a vaccine requirement would be the least difficult part of the move.
Because my third guess is that the current increase in housing prices might not apply if you’re trying to sell your old home in a place with lousy roads, crumbling bridges, dirty drinking water and no jobs. But I’ll bet the place you’re moving to would be expensive.
As said, my proposal isn’t perfect, but it might help turn out the vote.
And turn out the rascals.
Speaking of rascals, Aaron Rodgers continues to pop up in editorial cartoons, and not in a complimentary way. Clay Bennett (CTFP) applies an appropriate label to a man who offers a negative role model at a time we could use some heroes.
When the pandemic began, and we began to see pushback against what seemed like normal health precautions, I was hoping for a Rock Hudson moment.
Those old enough to remember the first panicked days of the AIDS crisis will recall that it began with “gay cancer” talk of how only “those people” got it, which not only sparked bigotry against gay men but jokes, since the mysterious disease couldn’t touch us “normal” people.
Then we learned that Rock Hudson had it and we had to rethink our assumptions about homosexuals, and then a few other celebrities got it and now we had to either pretend to believe it was from blood transfusions or else pretend we thought all sex was done calmly, in classic missionary position.
And then, as more information came out, we had to stop pretending.
Once we smartened up, though, we got the disease under a degree of control that eased the crisis, if not totally eliminating the problem.
So I was hoping for Rock Hudson with perhaps a bit of Arthur Ashe and Magic Johnson to bring good sense and good role modeling to the issue of the coronavirus.
Instead we got Aaron Rodgers, who explained:
Doesn’t exactly sound like Arthur Ashe.
I never heard Biden supporters coming out against vaccines. Perhaps he got that from his “good friend Joe Rogan.”
But Wisconsin’s Senators split on that clean drinking water deal, while its Reps were five-to-three against it, so, under my plan, Rodgers’ home state would only get 40% of the money they’d need to get the lead and other corruption out of their pipes.
And we’d have to wait for the rest of Biden’s proposals to come to the floor to find out if the kids who root for the Packers would be able to afford all that real food and extra vitamins, or — if Rodgers’ magical prescription fails — competent real-world medical treatment.
Meanwhile, they could sure use a better role model.