It is sad that we have gotten here, but House Republicans, including conservative stalwarts like Jim Jordan of Ohio, are set to pass Barack Obama’s latest stimulus plan. Except they are calling it John Boehner’s “Highway Bill.” Consider, however that Barack Obama’s budget, unveiled yesterday, calls for much of the same infrastructure spending the House Republicans want.There is a reason the Heritage Action for America, Club for Growth, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and other conservative organizations are opposed to this spending spree. It is not conservative. It should not be Republican. It is Barack Obama style spending. Call your Congressman today at 202-224-3121 and tell him to oppose H.R. 7, the American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act.Last week, when I pointed this out, I handed the front page over to Brendan Buck, Speaker Boehner’s Press Secretary, to rebut my claims. I would say he more than proved that this is, in fact, Barack Obama’s latest stimulus scheme hiding behind John Boehner’s name.Consider first that this highway bill “expands domestic energy production and puts in place a long-term plan for America’s infrastructure that is controlled by the states and completely paid for –without raising the gas tax.” Why would a highway bill focus on energy production? Well, first because it is called a sweetener designed to woo conservatives to vote for it. Second because “the gas tax does not generate enough revenue to meet all the infrastructure needs in America.”
There you have it. Instead of opening up American land to energy production and using that energy production to pay down the national debt, we will instead jack up highway spending, bankrupt the highway trust fund as a result, and then use the energy taxes to offset the project funding. Oh, and even better, the House GOP has an accounting “score” that claims they won’t bankrupt the Highway Trust Fund. How’s that? Well, just like how Democrats took all the major budget busting provisions out of Obamacare and put them in separate legislation so it looked like Obamacare actually decreased the deficit, House Republicans have decided to take mass transit funding and pay for it out of the general fund of taxpayer dollars instead of paying for it out of the Highway Trust Fund. So it makes it look like the Highway Trust Fund won’t go bankrupt! Accounting gimmicks — they’re not just for socializing the American healthcare industry any more.This is the key. As noted in the rebuttal to my original claims, “the gas tax does not generate enough revenue to meet all the infrastructure needs in America.” But rewind the clock to just last July when Congressman John Mica (R-FL HAFA Score 66%) passed a highway spending bill out of his committee that spent no more than what the gas tax raised. In other words, House Republicans have taken us from being able to spend as much as the gas tax raised to bankrupting the Highway Trust Fund and requiring domestic energy production fees to offset the spending binge.This is what smaller government looks like to House Republicans.Even worse, in the rebuttal we learn “Currently, only about two-thirds of federal highway dollars go back to the states for them to control. Under this bill, it will be 93%. What’s more, for the first time in three decades, ALL of the gas tax revenue – the user fee paid by every motorist on the highways – will go to core highway programs.”The first question is if we can get to 93%, why not 100% and get Congress out of the business of dictating local and state highway projects? But more so, note that all of the gas tax revenue will go to core highway programs. All of it. And Congress will keep spending beyond all the gas tax revenue.This is madness. This is Barack Obama style stimuli and Barack Obama style accounting. It reminds me of the unemployment chart showing where unemployment would be with and without Barack Obama’s stimulus plan. After the plan passed, unemployment was even higher than Obama said it would get without his stimulus plan.The House Republicans are relying on five year estimates of revenues generated from energy production to hide just how bankrupt they will leave the Highway Trust Fund with this spending binge. And in five years, none of us will be surprised when reality comes in less than the estimates.