Reagan adviser: Infrastructure bill biggest ‘fiscal con job’ in U.S. history

The Senate Democrats’ 2,702-page, $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is “probably the greatest fiscal con job” that’s ever been perpetrated on the American public, contends Steve Hanke of John Hopkins University, a former member of President Ronald Reagan’s council of economic advisers.

Hanke, who was tasked by Reagan with evaluating all of his infrastructure proposals, argued in an interview Monday with CNBC that only about 25% of the bill “actually involves hard infrastructure,” meaning projects such as roads, bridges and water treatment plants. Secondly, he pointed out, the Congressional Budget Office found that one-fourth of the bill will not be paid for, requiring an increase in taxes.

Finally, he said, there’s “the elephant in the room.”

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared she will kill the Senate’s bipartisan $1.2 trillion “infrastructure” bill unless the Senate also passes a $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” bill that includes climate-change legislation and amnesty for illegal aliens.

Democrats have promised it will be the most “consequential piece of legislation” since the New Deal.

They plan to approve the $3.5 trillion bill without help from Republicans by using the budget reconciliation process, set aside for spending packages, allowing them to advance the bill to a final vote with only 51 votes instead of the usual 60.

The total “infrastructure” legislation then will approach $5 trillion, Hanke pointed out.

But it gets worse, the former Reagan adviser contended, noting past experience suggests cost overruns will triple the total cost, make the “real cost” $15 trillion.

He explained the concept of “excess burden,” in which it typically costs $3 to collect every dollar of tax revenue.

“So you have a monster facing the United States,” Hanke told CNBC. “It really is a total underestimate of what the burden actually will be.”

On Sunday, 18 Senate Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in a vote to halt debate on the $1.2 trillion package and move to a final simple-majority vote, which could take place as early as Tuesday morning.

See Hanke’s remarks:

A chief opponent of the $1.2 trillion deal, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said it “is about the woke political agenda of the left.”