The Itsfuckedforsure Bill

And the Ghosts of Spending Bills Past.

SUMMARY: President Biden signed H.R. 3684 into law with leaders in Washington breaking their arms to pat themselves on the back. Never mind that the infrastructure bill is either 20% or 40% of what the American Society of Civil Engineers believes is necessary (depending upon your interpretation of the allocated funds), or that it doesn’t begin to address climate change, or that it’s stuffed with old school pork and contains none of the human elements promised to us. It’s a bill that got signed in Washington and that’s apparently all that matters. Find out why it’s great for corporations, guarantees the Republicans take back the White House in ‘24 and why we’re mad at Elon Musk and his hair plugs.  

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Washington is in a self congratulatory mood over the spending bill that Biden just signed so time to get busy unf*cking. Of course we’re talking about The Itsfuckedforsure bill. 

A trillion dollar bill (or is it?) dedicated to infrastructure spending in the United States. Pretty overwhelming stuff but lucky for you all, I’ve just emerged from a self imposed exile where I sequestered myself to read through the 2,700 page infrastructure bill so you don’t have to Unf*ckers. 


A NOTE TO READERS FROM THE PRODUCERS

MANNY: It’s double spaced

99: With pretty generous margins. 

MANNY: And the table of contents is like 50 pages alone. 


I have so many takeaways from reading the bill, not the least of which is that it’s not a trillion dollars. It’s half that. And it’s likely going to guarantee Democrats get slaughtered in the midterms and possibly the next election. It won’t do anything to protect us from climate change. It will probably be the last significant piece of legislation the Biden administration passes. Like every infrastructure bill before, it will be a boon to big business and you won’t see the benefits of it for at least five to ten years. So there’s that. 

But at least we’ll have charging stations for electric vehicles from coast-to-coast instead of high speed rail or more sensible pathways to aid both mobility and the environment, yet again offering a gift in the form of corporate socialism to enrich Elon Musk who won’t be on the hook for a nickel of this specific element of the bill that will make him even wealthier on the back of the government that built him and the consumer that funded him all the while he picks a fight with Bernie Fucking Sanders like a cartoon villain - you hair plug sporting, South African born, silver spoon sucking, twice divorced, pure product of government subsidies and 100% genuine fucking prick. Even Peter Thiel hates you and he’s the second biggest asshole on the planet! Everything you have is because of this country you flaming fucking shitgibbon! 


A NOTE TO READERS FROM THE PRODUCERS

99: Apparently the whole “leading with love” thing just went out the window…


COP26

The world’s leaders and their diplomats just wrapped COP26, the United Nations conference on climate change by committing to the science, first and foremost, and to clarifying the world’s approach to reducing the impact of climate change through adaptation, adaptation finance, mitigation, and accounting for the human and physical toll of our changing environment. 

The conference attendees reaffirmed in writing the, “long-term global goal to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”

That’s the new target. Critics of COP argue that it was all again too much talk and that even if every nation adhered to their individual pledges, the best outcome would theoretically be a 2.5 °C increase, and therefore catastrophic. Those data are far from squared so it will take some time to authenticate this claim. One of the best outcomes is the pledge to reconvene annually, and in particular in one year from now with firm plans and financing to attain these goals while nations work with the private sector to bolster their participation. 

Unf*ckers are familiar with the theme that I’m going to continue with here, and that’s the two big takeaways from our Climate Industrial Complex episode. One, that Pentagon models since the 1990s show that the United States will fare far better than most other countries under the most extreme models of climate change. And, two, even though we are officially not at war for the first time in 75 years, our military budget is poised to increase annually for the next ten years above wartime levels with full bipartisan support and no pushback from corporate media. 

I offer this context once again because it lays bare our motivation here at home to pay lip service at COP26 while possessing almost no intention to actually participate in what is required to meet or exceed the targets set by the global scientific community. How do I know this? 

I give you H.R. 3684, known as the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act

So I figure we should start by reviewing the history of infrastructure spending in the United States to contextualize this current plan. You know, as we do. Each one teaches us an important lesson about bills of this magnitude and the tide of history. 


Infrastructure Through the Years: 5 Key Lessons

One of the single largest infrastructure projects ever conceived and implemented in the U.S. is the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA. The TVA is somewhat of a controversial project in American history but offers a glimpse into how the nation developed. It’s a story that pits individual landowners against progress and demonstrates our desire to tame nature and bend it to our use. 

It was celebrated as one of the New Deal’s greatest achievements. A public authority that generated an incredible amount of work for laborers, brought power to a rural and depressed part of the nation and turned the massive Tennessee River that flows through seven states and frequently overflowed with disastrous consequences into a power generating and crop irrigating machine that fueled progress in the expansive Tennessee Valley. It was also an example of the sheer brutality that comes with the power of eminent domain as it forcibly displaced some 15,000 inhabitants of the valley. 

Today the TVA employs more than 10,000 people and brings power to more than 4.5 million homes and businesses but remains a sore spot for environmentalists and residents who are beholden to the massive authority. Regardless of the controversy surrounding the TVA, which I’m by no means minimizing, it remains an impressive piece of innovative infrastructure devised by the innovative minds forged in the Great Depression.

Lesson One: Sometimes infrastructure takes as much as it gives. 

As the Depression wore on and projects were slow to get off the ground, industry was still moving forward in a country increasingly dependent on the automobile. This too would pressure the immature American system as the quantity and quality of roads in the nation varied widely and there was no cohesive system to move across the country in either an east-west or north-south direction. 

The DOT archives speak to the popular World’s Fair exhibit in 1939 titled Futurama, which captured the nation’s collective imagination.

The exhibit's designer, Norman Bel Geddes, imagined the road network of 1960 - 14-lane superhighways crisscrossing the nation, with vehicles moving at speeds as high as 160 km/hour. Radio beams in the cars regulated the spacing between them to ensure safety. In the cities, traffic moved on several levels - the lowest for service, such as pulling into parking lots, the highest for through traffic moving 80 km/hour. Although the “magic motorways” shown in Futurama were beyond the technological and financial means of the period, they helped popularize the concept of interstate highways. 

The point I want to drive here relates to timing. The Futurama exhibit was in 1939, during the FDR years and the New Dealers were keen to build upon these ideas and create a national system of vehicular transportation. Truman had the same designs and these concepts were very much in the works during the 1940s. But when we think about the highway system, we don’t equate it with either administration. 

President Eisenhower is given the credit for our massive investment, and that’s all well and good because that’s when the funding occurred and the plan was set into legislative motion. But it was a plan that was at least a decade in the making, something to remember as we move through the years to talk about the current bill. 

Lesson Two: These things take time. 

Many states were busy in the decades between the big idea projects of the New Deal but the feds were running short on good ideas and turning out bureaucratic and problematic housing and urban renewal programs that had marginal success and glaring issues. Nixon was focused on economic matters, getting us out of Vietnam, opening up relations with China, fostering racist domestic policies and breaking and entering, among other things. Ford was…well, Ford. Carter never got off the ground. 

Reagan decimated federal domestic spending programs and doubled down on the military industrial complex. Bush Senior and Clinton weren’t able to truly claim a victory on infrastructure as the nation’s systems slowly began to crumble and we outsourced the new broadband frontier to private companies that would light up parts of the country that made financial sense while ignoring Black neighborhoods and poor rural areas. (Check out the end of our Economics of Racism episode where we cover Digital Redlining.) 

It wasn’t until August of 2005 that George W. Bush signed the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act after two years of bickering in Congress over a federal highway and infrastructure bill. The measure wound up at $284 billion, which was hailed as a pretty big deal at the time but it would become more known for the fuckery that surrounded the bill. 

Some of you might recall the controversy surrounding the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere” that was originally earmarked for $200 million of this bill in the ultimate example of pork barrel spending in Washington. The bridge never got built, by the way, and these funds were shuffled around in different bills over the years, ultimately landing who the fuck knows where. Although as governor of Alaska Sarah “You Betcha” Palin was able to procure funding to build a road that went to the bridge that was never built. So, yeah. That happened. 

The bigger issue surrounding this act was when it was later revealed that then-Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert fought hard to include $200 million for his own pet project called the Prairie Parkway that ran through his district. That wasn’t the only thing the proposed roadway ran through, however. It also ran through private land held in a blind trust owned by, you guessed it, Dennis Hastert, who sold the lot after the bill was passed with his earmark and pocketed $1.8 million on the deal. Of course, he was never indicted, prosecuted, or censured by his colleagues. Nothing. Oh, and the Prairie Parkway? Also never built. 

Lesson Three: Republicans talk a big game, but usually only act when it lines their pockets. 

These were the Milton Friedman years. Free markets, deregulation, privatization. This was the way of the world as we put Keynes on the shelf and allowed corporations to plan America from policy to infrastructure. Then, in 2008, it all came crashing down as a new president was sworn into office facing the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression and there’s no hyperbole in that statement.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was a big deal. We covered it in our Stimulate This, Beyotch episode and it’s likely that we’ll return to it many times in the future. We talked about how the political operatives in the Obama administration, not the economists, determined that a spending bill was the only way to stave off another great depression but that it couldn’t exceed $1 trillion. These days the Treasury shits out a trillion on a Tuesday, but at the time, it was considered political suicide even if they were only days into the new administration.

Recall that this bill did a lot more than pay for projects. It funded state coffers that had run dry, propped up social welfare and unemployment programs and injected capital in every part of the system. Carved out in the bill for “shovel ready” projects to get Americans working again was $105 billion spread between transportation, which received the biggest share, water and sewage, broadband, energy, housing and training. There was a few billion for government buildings as well. 

I have many thoughts on this period and I would again encourage Unf*ckers interested in this to check out The New New Deal by Michael Grunwald to see almost hour-by-hour what was happening behind the scenes in D.C. Fascinating stuff. Anyway, to bring a more clinical analysis of just the infrastructure I’ll read a couple of excerpts from a Brookings report a few years ago that calculated the impact. 

“First and foremost, the Recovery Act—the largest public works project since the Eisenhower Interstate System—showed a quantifiable relationship between transportation investment and outcomes. Investments improved more than 42,000 miles of roads and almost 2,700 bridges; they paid for 850 new transit facilities, nearly 12,000 new buses, and nearly 700 new rail cars; and they repaired about 800 airport facilities.

“The Recovery Act highlighted some limitations of project sponsors to quickly absorb additional funding, even within the constraints of familiar programs. Take highway spending, for example: while Congress provided funds in a single tranche in fiscal year 2009, recipients spent those dollars through fiscal year 2012, sometimes sequencing them ahead of other federal highway funds. This resulted in elevated, but relatively consistent, actual spending (outlay) levels through fiscal year 2014. Recipients can adjust to higher funding levels, but full absorption of a funding spike still takes time and not all construction or jobs will be immediate. Generally speaking, new and more complex programs take longer to implement before shovels can ever hit the ground.” 

I can remember an interview with Obama where he talked about lessons learned from the Act and his primary takeaway was that the concept of “shovel ready” was just that - a concept. In reality, except for basic road patching and paving, very few physical infrastructure projects can be considered shovel ready. These things take time. And so as much as Obama and company wanted to send this money flooding through the system, in most cases it took several years to actually make this happen. 

The other interesting point the Brookings piece makes is that some of the recipients, whether governmental or private, are unable to actually handle an enormous influx of money at one time. And the more complex the project, the more methodical and patient one must be to appropriate funds. 

One more thing that bears repeating from our stimulus episode is that Joe Biden was chosen to oversee the distribution of these funds and the reporting on them. And to this day, there has been little to no statistical, empirical or anecdotal evidence of fraud in the program. Say what you want, but given the history of fuckery with spending on this magnitude, that’s an impressive achievement. Nonetheless, the entire affair underscores the issue that since the highway system plan, we haven’t been very good at thinking big, building new, innovating and spending money in a way that makes life better. 

Lesson Four: Even when you think it’s enough, it probably isn’t. 

Of course there’s one man who spent more time talking about infrastructure than any other president before. Donald Freaking Trump, baby. 

Yeah, my man loved talking about infrastructure. Even celebrating infrastructure week each year of his bizarro presidency while never doing a fucking thing. Except for the time he pretended to drive that big truck. That’s the stuff, that right there. That’s what makes me miss him. Except that I don’t. 

Anyway, Professor Orange von Fucknugget loved talking about building things. Walls. Cities. Buildings. Dams. (He loved talking about dams.) Trains, highways, airports. Trump floated a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill before it was fashionable. Of course it never happened. Just like the wall. Just like pretty much anything he said he would do other than the tax cut. But here’s where he won. He talked about it so much,  people think he actually passed an infrastructure bill AND because the Obama projects finally came to fruition late in his term and the economic recovery finally gained momentum at the same time, it didn’t matter what Trump did because it looked like all the good stuff happening was his doing. And that’s why they love him. 

Lesson Five: Pass it now and the next guy will probably get the credit. 


Infrastructure in America

Let’s dig into the different areas that are affected by the infrastructure bill. First off, there are two types of infrastructure spending: physical and human. Job training, education, child care, structural social programs have all been considered infrastructure at one time or another. There can be overlap such as physical plant spending on education and training for specific new jobs related to innovative programs, but for the most part human programs are intended for the benefit and betterment of people directly. Indirectly you have physical infrastructure, which is more often associated with spending bills on this scale. 

Here are the areas that count toward physical infrastructure and what this latest bill is designed to address. 

  • Aviation

  • Bridges

  • Broadband

  • Dams

  • Drinking Water

  • Energy

  • Hazardous Waste

  • Inland Waterways

  • Levees

  • Public Parks

  • Ports

  • Rail

  • Roads

  • Schools

  • Solid Waste

  • Stormwater

  • Transit

  • Wastewater

What the progressives, led by Bernie Sanders, have been trying to accomplish is to pair this first wave of spending with another bill that would address the human capital side of the equation. For a brief moment as we covered in our U.S. Progressivism episode, it looked as though the progressive wing of the Democratic Party had finally figured out how to flex a bit as they refused to bring the jobs act to the floor unless it was paired with the larger spending bill that would have gone to support families, education, healthcare, paid leave, extended child subsidies, prescription drug coverage and a host of other social programs that might have taken us into this millennium. 

Sadly they caved and the Manchin, Menendez, Sinema wing of the Democrats shut them down and proved once again that math doesn’t matter. 3 moderate Democrats carry more power and weight than 96 progressive members of Congress. 

So instead we got this bill and a cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back promise from Manchin and company that they’ll give the next bill a chance. Gee. Thanks. 

Let’s see how it stacks up against what we’ve been told we really need considering we’ve been punting on shoring up our infrastructure since before I was born, if you take out the road to the bridge to nowhere that never happened. 

Every year since 1998, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) produces a report card on American infrastructure and so far it’s been pretty dire. The ASCE Committee is composed of civil engineers who assess data based upon factors such as capacity, condition, funding, operation and maintenance, resilience and safety. Under these parameters they examine and grade 17 distinct areas from water and sewage treatment to bridges, waterways and rail. 

The organization’s stated goal is to provide a framework and baseline of objective goals that help us arrive at a solid B grade, which it considers, “Good, adequate for now. Assets are generally safe and reliable with minimal capacity issues and minimal risk.” The report card follows a standard academic rating of A through F with this year marking the first time our overall grade rose from a D rating. 

🎉 Yay!

Easy there. We went from a D+ in 2017 to a C- in 2021. This increase reflects increased investment from the private sector and states primarily, with the federal government helping in certain areas but more of a supporting role than a primary driver of building, resiliency and innovation. 

Perhaps the greatest reflection of our priorities is demonstrated in the disparity of the grades. For example, the two most highly rated areas at a solid “B” grade are Rail and Ports. In fact, rail would be higher but the consumer rail, Amtrak specifically, pulls down the rating. According to the report: 

“Despite freight and passenger rail being part of an integrated system, there remain stark differences in the challenges faced by the two rail categories. While freight maintains a strong network largely through direct shipper fees — investing on average over $260,000 per mile — passenger rail requires government investment and has been plagued by a lack of federal support, leading to a current state of good repair backlog at $45.2 billion.” 

Our only other B-range grade is the ports, an essential component in our international trade and competitiveness.

Here are the areas that remain in the D-range: 

  • Aviation 

  • Public Parks 

  • Dams, Schools

  • Hazardous Waste

  • Stormwater

  • Inland Waterways 

  • Transit

  • Levees 

  • Wastewater  

In other words, the things that matter most to you and me in our daily lives. The things that keep us safe, clean and educated. Those are “Ds” but, hey, if you’re in the import/export business or a big business or industry that has to move freight across the country, you’re in luck. You got a B! 

The financial impact of the report is interesting when we look at the context of the current bill. The powers that be just passed a $500 billion - not a trillion - billion dollar bill to be allocated over the next 10 years. But the ASCE report states, “while we’ve made incremental gains in some of the infrastructure categories, our long-term investment gap continues to grow. We’re still just paying about half of our infrastructure bill - and the total investment gap has gone from $2.1 trillion over 10 years to nearly $2.59 trillion over 10 years.” In other words, the act that Congress just passed…the one they’re breaking their arms to pat each other on the back over…the new bill is about 20% of what the ASCE recommends. Even being generous and saying it’s a trillion - which it’s not - it’s still only 40% of what’s recommended. 


So what’s actually in this thing?

$110 billion for roads and bridges. In addition to construction and repair, including funding for Puerto Rico’s highways. 

$66 billion for railroads, but mostly for Amtrak. No high speed rail in our future. 

$65 billion for the power grid for upgrades, maintenance and cybersecurity to prevent hacking. 

$65 billion for broadband in rural areas and low-income communities. 

$50+ billion to protect infrastructure from hackers and address flooding, wildfires, coastal erosion, and droughts.

$55 billion for water infrastructure. This funding includes $15 billion for lead pipe replacement, $10 billion for chemical cleanup, and money to provide clean drinking water in tribal communities.

$39 billion for mass transit upgrades, new bus routes and accessibility. 

$25 billion to expand and upgrade airports and air traffic control towers.

$21 billion for the environment, but mostly for clean up of really shitty sites like brownfields and old oil wells. There’s some pork in there for Manchin to clean up coal mines as well. That was a provision he insisted on. 

Rounding out here we’ve got $17 billion for ports, $11 billion for highway and pedestrian safety, $8 billion for water infrastructure out west to curb the effects of droughts, $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations - you’re welcome Elon you fucking douchenozzle - and $7.5 billion for electric school buses. 

And a partridge in a motherfucking pear tree. 


Doing the Math

By now you can probably tell that I’m not all that impressed. Don’t get me wrong, this is a shit ton of money and we need it badly. And we’ll return to the lessons we covered before in a moment, but the overarching message here is that if this is the last significant piece of legislation that comes out of this administration, and I have a bad feeling that this is going to be the case, it will indeed help us close the funding gap identified by the ASCE, but only marginally so. And you know what that means, Unf*ckers…

That’s right. If this is all we wind up with, it’s PITOTWIU. (AKA, pissing in the ocean to warm it up.) 

But let’s do the math anyway. 

Yes, there will be a ton of really good union work available in all corners of the country. That’s a good thing. And it will be spread out over an extended period of time so union job security in the heavy construction industry is all but a lock. 

But let’s go back to our lessons from infrastructure bills past. 

Starting with lesson one. 

Sometimes infrastructure takes as much as it gives. 

While there’s nothing here to suggest something as ethically compromised as eminent domain, what we’re losing by shooting so low and so basic is the big thinking that’s required to attain the standards of COP26 on climate and focus on the social programs that help lift people out of poverty and give them a shot at economic mobility in a meaningful way, like we did in the ‘50s and ‘60s. If you were white. 

And lesson two. These things take time. 

Right now the economy is hot and getting hotter with unemployment near pre-pandemic lows and heading lower. And while there has been wage growth in the middle and upper classes, the lower end of the spectrum remains dire and dislocated. So even though some of these programs will bring new work and opportunities, it will take time to recognize them fully and they won’t funnel all the way down to the bottom. That’s why pairing the social infrastructure component was so vital. Remember that this so-called trillion, which is really half of that, is designed to run over a ten-year period so it’s a lot less impact annually than it sounds. 

What’s really outrageous politically, is lesson three. 

Republicans talk a big game, but usually only act when it lines their pockets. 

Just like the Bridge to Nowhere and the Prairie Parkway, it’s amazing how many times Republicans pull from the fraudulent pork playbook and demand earmarks to get their way. For example, in order to get Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on board, we yet again had to promise earmarks for Alaskan highways to carry the 300 fucking residents and 1,400 caribou safely across the state. In fairness, not to be outdone, Gayle Manchin is getting funds for the Appalachian Regional Commission specifically. A commission she co-chairs. 

Hmmm. Why’s that name familiar?

Yup. Gayle Manchin is the wife of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, resident dickhead of the Dems and essentially a Republican at this point. Of course, that’s just political jockeying that has been going on since time immemorial. Lesson four is more on point to the conversation. 

Even when you think it’s enough, it probably isn’t. 

Just like Obama and his advisors caved at the thought of spending a trillion dollars and opted instead for a figure that they hoped, but secretly knew wasn’t enough, this bill is only - at best - 40% of what’s required. And given the fact that it’s actually hard to distribute this amount of money, even over a planned ten-year period, it’s likely that it’s not enough to bring us to a grade B level on par with other developed nations. And for shit sure it ain’t enough to get us on the path to meet our COP26 commitments to help bring the world within the 1.5° threshold. 

And back to politics for a moment, we have our final lesson to round things out. 

Pass it now and the next guy will probably get the credit. 

The real winner here will be the next president. In the meantime, Republicans are going to get all the upside because this will bring down unemployment even further and cover over the cracks in the healthcare system and inequality for a time. Healthcare because more jobs equals more covered lives. Inequality because inflation will eventually cool off and there will be juuuuuust enough work to pay the bills for most people but not really get ahead, which means people will be working, but angry about living paycheck to paycheck while Fox News goes on a rampage about immigrants, reckless spending and losing to China.

This type of spending takes a while to reveal so I expect the moderate Dems and Republicans to coalesce in order to prevent any big items from moving forward. The closer we get to the midterms, the more difficult it will be as Biden’s political capital clock is tick, tick, ticking away. Midterms will be a bloodbath portending a complete and total impasse for the balance of his administration with a Congress deadlocked against him. 


Bring it home, Max. People are busy.  

I made some casual assertions just now about inflation and the impact of the stimulus so it’s a good time to review our Modern Monetary Theory episode as we close the episode out. Remember that this theory has been proven since the 1980s. We have forty years of evidence to demonstrate that a sovereign currency nation can issue currency beyond the budget to fund programs that don’t impact consumer spending items. The inflation we’re experiencing right now is due to the fractured supply chain and the buildup of inventory at the ports. It’s being worsened by big oil fuckery that we’ll unpack in a few episodes from now. 

Remember that the price of fossil fuels doesn’t just show up at the pump. You need oil to make plastic, to run machinery, fuel tankers and barges, heat homes and so on. Fossil fuels linger in every inch of the global economy so when there’s artificial supply pressure at the top it works all the way through the economy and rears its head in consumer goods and transportation. 

Americans are also flush with cash so there’s greater demand than supply in several sectors. This will cool off. The point is that you’re about to hear - and frankly it’s already started - that this spending bill and every other Democratic program is causing inflation and that we need to start pulling back on the reins. When you’re confronted with this argument, you are fully in the right to push back and ask why this didn’t happen when we were running outrageous annual deficits to fund military engagements. It’s because there’s no correlation. Anyway, revisit the MMT episode to shore up your arguments and read the Deficit Myth by Stephanie Kelton if you haven’t already done so. 

So, yeah. My fear is that this plan is an echo of 2009. Because past Congresses and administrations punted on their responsibilities to our infrastructure and the planet and opted instead to fuel our bloodlust to conquer nations abroad, bills are coming due all over the place. If our civil experts believe the funding gap to be $2.5 trillion but we managed to allocate half a trillion - please stop letting people call this a trillion dollar bill - then we’re just putting on a fresh coat of paint. 

Installing electric car charging stations around the country will help convert the country to electric vehicles but these vehicles are built on very dirty technology and we have yet to deal with how to dispose of it when they die. Instead of reimagining transportation like they did in Futurama in 1939, we’re just doubling down on the same old framework. Exactly what we described about our thinking relative to the economic and power order of the world the last two episodes. 

We seem to have ceded imagination to the corporate class that is designed to extract, not to replace and reinvent. Giant server farms are using more energy than ever before. One doesn’t have to test our imaginations to picture the electric vehicle graveyards of toxic parts and batteries in the not-too-distant future. This bill adds nothing to our pledge to build an adaptive, resilient and carbon neutral economy. And if you believe for a second the moderate democrats are going to allow the more important human infrastructure bill to come to pass, well then I too have a bridge to nowhere to sell you. All for the reasonable price of a $5 per month subscription to UNFTR. 

Hopefully there’s room on Manchin’s yacht when the world burns. 

Play it safe to win elections and this is what you get. 

Don’t lose faith in the progressives. 

Here endeth the lesson.


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