Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | March 25, 2009

Becky FengerInfrastructure triumvirate

If you didn't catch "Meet the Press" on ABC-TV this past Sunday, you missed hearing a trio of men who claim to have all the answers to our economic woes: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Arnold led off by explaining to host David Gregory that they formed a partnership in order to help President Barack Obama draft a plan to rebuild the infrastructure of America.

Gov. Schwarzenegger is not lacking in confidence in the ability of his group to get the country back on track. And "track" seems to be the operative word with him."We need to move people and goods fast," he advised and proceeded to mouth the first of what seemed like a dozen plugs for high-speed rail. He beamed about how the California legislature and the citizens came together in a bi-partisan way to approve $42 billion in infrastructure bonds, and said that all of America could see how they did it and copy them.

Whoa, just a minute here. Are we certain that we want to copy a state that has debts that could choke a Budweiser Clydesdale and causes their fearless leader to fly back and forth to D.C. to beg for ever more stacks of stimulus money? In fact, if hard pressed, I'm still trying to think of something that I want to copy from California.

To any questions posed by Gregory, Arnold chided him for being such a pessimist. As an example of something positive to focus on, Arnold pointed to all the stimulus money Obama promised to bring California. "Post-partisanship is alive and well," Arnold said. (You could have fooled me.) "For every billion dollars spent on infrastructure, 18,000 to 25,000 new jobs are created," he bragged. Well, I guess California's problems really do stem from not spending enough money on infrastructure the last four decades, as Schwarzenegger claims. Ya, sure.

Gov. Ed Rendell spoke often of a new "Infrastructure Bank." I can see where he gets that, since banks have worked out so well for us lately. The three were buoyed by polls showing that "citizens are very interested in rebuilding and are willing to pay for it."

I found it interesting that Mayor Bloomberg said he learns a lot by talking to people on the subway. Does anyone else find it difficult to believe he often gives up his chauffeured vehicle to ride the subway?

More interesting is that all three men still strongly support Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Bloomberg said: "Tim Geithner is exactly the guy I would want there. He's smart, he's a workaholic, and he understands how markets work and how people react." Oh, please. Geithner didn't pay $34,000 in taxes during his 2001-2004 stint at IMG. He looked the other way when he was chairman of the New York Federal Reserve. He was complacent when the Securities and Exchange Commission was warned six times of the coming disaster. He said Turbo Tax failed to prompt him to pay his taxes. Yep. He's a regular genius.

Schwarzenegger said that Washington D.C. is going to learn from mistakes made in the past. I beg to differ. They're getting ready for Stimulus VII already! They feign indignation for A.I.G. bonuses that they approved. They dissemble when caught at it. They are preparing to reinstitute the failed "Fairness Doctrine" which is anything but fair. They are considering taking away the secret ballot of workers who can now be browbeaten into joining unions they don't want. I have yet to hear a politician defend the Card Check bill that would make voting on unionizing public that passes the laugh test.


"Where else but Washington do we put the arsonist in charge of the fire? ~ Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, Jan.21

"That Obama called this an honest budget is amazing. All budgets are fiction; this one is fantasia. The big cuts are actual tax increases and fictional Iraq savings." ~ Syndicated columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer, Feb 26.

"I think Obama is doing the right thing in raising taxes on the rich. I don't see why the rich shouldn't pay more taxes. They have the money, and the government needs the money. Now is just not the time." ~ Actor, author and financial advisor Ben Stein, February

"We're in a situation where we can't NOT spend." ~ Mayor Michael Bloomberg, seconded by Gov. Ed Rendell, March 22

"It's water under the damn." ~ Political pundit Dick Morris, Feb. 19