Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Filibuster

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement is Embarrassing

Remember the Biden administration’s proposal to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure? Traditional infrastructure spending accounted for roughly half of that proposal. It was less than half of what the American Society of Civil Engineers believes we need. According to them, the US faces a $2.59 trillion infrastructure shortfall over the next 10 years. Now a bipartisan deal has been announced which limits new spending to just $579 billion. That’s less than a quarter of what our civil engineers believe we need. To make matters worse, the administration has agreed to fund much of the spending with public/private partnerships. Many essential infrastructure projects can’t generate a profit–they require huge up-front investments and continuous maintenance. The more an infrastructure package depends on private funding, the more limited that package is in the kinds of projects it can fund. How did it come to this? Let’s run through some of the reasons why the infrastructure plan was so completely butchered.

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What do the Midterms Mean? Not Much…

In much of the media’s coverage of the US midterm elections, the focus has been on the number of races won by republican candidates. When we look exclusively at races won, it appears as if the right has scored a stunning victory. The trouble is that in the American political system, power is widely distributed. An individual congressman, senator, or even governor or president can do very little to meaningfully effect policy.  Consequently, when we evaluate what an election means, we need to evaluate whether enough power has been accumulated by one side or the other to meaningfully sway policy outcomes. When we do this at the federal level, we see that the balance of power has remained more or less consistent since 2010.

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Begun, the Drone War Has

So yesterday, Rand Paul decided to use a filibuster–an old school, talking filibuster, no less–to stall the approval of Barack Obama’s proposed CIA head, John Brennan. The reason for this is that Rand Paul disapproves of the administration’s use of drones, specifically the administration claim that it could, in a sufficiently dire situation, kill a citizen within the territory of the United States with one. I’ve wanted to do the drone post for a while, but I haven’t gotten around to it, so Rand Paul can consider himself to have inspired me in this one rather trivial respect. Read the rest of this entry »