President Biden has billed himself as a healer of divisions in the American public. As part of this “healing,” the Biden Administration was compelled to water down his infrastructure plan, known as the American Jobs Plan, to be acceptable to both capitalist parties – Democrats and Republicans. After months of haggling, the greatly reduced “bipartisan bill” was passed in the Senate on August 10. The Senate bill calls for about $550 billion of federal spending on infrastructure, which is a quarter of Biden’s original $2.6 trillion plan proposed in March.
Even the original plan would have done little to “overhaul the nation’s economy,” as Biden put it, and the bipartisan compromise Bill is a cruel joke in comparison. For one, the original proposal involved the “Clean Electricity Standard” which would have required U.S. power companies to change to renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2035. This deadline is way too late. But even if we could make this transition sooner, the fact is that the greenhouse gas emissions do not only emanate from the energy industries, but from others as well, including manufacturing, animal agriculture, and transportation. These are moot points now, since the Clean Electricity Standard was left out of the watered down “bipartisan” Senate Bill. The new bill also leaves out the Civilian Climate Corps – a plan for creating jobs around renewable energy and other environmental conservation projects. The bottom line is that the original bill would not have – and could not have – forced the major capitalists from continuing their destruction of the environment. And the new bill will hardly even make a dent in global heating, nor create environmentally-sustainable jobs.
Naturally, the Democrats blame the Republicans for blocking some of the components of the original infrastructure plan. But this wrangling between the two big capitalist parties is just a symptom of a deeper disease. The ruling class of the United States – the billionaires who control the economy and government – have been slashing public spending at a furious pace since the 1970s. This has been their response to the slow erosion of their profits and the decline of their global empire.
The result of their desperate imposition of austerity undercuts the very foundations of their capitalist economy. By blocking any government attempt to tax their corporations any higher in order to fix the crumbling infrastructure, the big capitalists are only ensuring short-term profits at the expense of the entire economy. How can they make profits if the roads and bridges are falling apart, or if the schools are not training future-employees?
And not only is the economy being destroyed, but the planet itself. Underneath all this economic infrastructure is the “infrastructure of nature” – the environment we all depend on for life, which is being quickly destroyed by the petrochemical industrial complex (Big Oil, chemicals, plastics, etc.). And no capitalist party – whether Democrat or Republican – will stop this juggernaut. The capitalists have shown beyond doubt that they would sooner destroy the planet itself than dismantle the source of their wealth and power.