And consider Obama's naked partisan stunt on Thursday at the Brent Spence Bridge connecting GOP House Speaker John Boehner's home state of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's home state of Kentucky. "There's no reason for Republicans in Congress to stand in the way of more construction projects. There's no reason to stand in the way of more jobs," he railed. "Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge. Help us rebuild America. Help us put this country back to work. Pass this jobs bill right away!"
While he has high-mindedly called on "Washington" (as if he isn't at the center of it) to put country over politics, he continues to use tax dollars to travel the country for campaign events assailing Republicans in front of decrepit bridges that wouldn't see a dime of his "immediate" jobs bill money for years. If ever.
The point was made not by evil GOP obstructionists, but by the local Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper, which pointed out that the Brent Spence Bridge is not named in Obama's jobs bill, has no guarantee of funding in the jobs bill, and "is still in the preliminary engineering and environmental clearance phase. In a best case scenario, the earliest that workers would be hired would be in 2013, but more likely 2015."
It gets worse. Obama's infrastructure loan corps wouldn't just oversee bridge loans to nowhere. The AIFA board would get to dispense billions and score political points for their favorite photo-op-ready roads, mass transit, inland waterways, commercial ports, airports, air traffic control systems, passenger rail, high-speed rail, freight rail, wastewater treatment facilities, storm water management systems, dams, solid-waste disposal facilities, drinking water treatment facilities, levees, power transmission and distribution, storage, and energy-efficiency enhancements for buildings.
As I reported in my Tuesday column, a separate $6 billion "private nonprofit corporation" would be created by the Obama jobs plan to oversee the "Public Safety Broadband Corporation." The panel would consist of 11 board members and four Obama administration officials. It, too, would be tasked with choosing winners and losers. Instead of local and state governments overseeing construction, this new federally created investing entity would "hold the single public safety wireless license granted under section 281 and take all actions necessary to ensure the building, deployment, and operation of a secure and resilient nationwide public safety interoperable broadband network."
Given last week's bombshell revelations of White House pressure on military and government officials to promote the president's old broadband cronies at shady LightSquared Inc., the idea of empowering a new Obama bureaucracy to dole out more broadband contracts in the name of "public safety" is unsettling at best. Deeper and deeper we go.
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