Crom Carmichael: Defining Infrastructure and the Systemic Crushing of the Middle Class
Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to discuss the changing definition of infrastructure and the intended destruction of the middle class.
(Joe Manchin clips plays)
Leahy: (Sighs) Joe Manchin, the Democrat Senator from West Virginia. Now, that clip to me, Crom, sounds like he’s cheerleading for this 2,700-page bill. The ‘infrastructure bill’ that was just released late last night by Chuck Schumer. Forced to release it, by the way, because Breitbart got an unauthorized leak of the bill that they released about an hour before.
That’s why it got released. It’s filled with all sorts of special deals and money going to special interest groups. And yet Manchin is presenting it as everybody’s bill. What’s your reaction to that?
Carmichael: Now we’re talking specifically about the so-called physical infrastructure bill, not the human infrastructure bill. We’re talking about the one that’s the $1.2 trillion dollar bill correct?
Leahy: (Chuckles) Well Crom, it says it’s physical infrastructure.
Carmichael: I’m just talking about the other one is ridiculous.
Leahy: This one is equally ridiculous.
Carmichael: I know, but is this the one that actually includes some money for roads and bridges?
Leahy: There is some money for roads and bridges. Some.
Carmichael: Manchin is incorrect when he says a D or an R because the people from New York and the people from California are getting the lion’s share of this money. It’s – not much is coming to the people of Tennessee or any city or state in the South, including West Virginia.
West Virginia will get a little bit. And I suppose Manchin thinks that if he brings home $100 million dollars worth of bacon for West Virginia out of $1.2 trillion, then the people of West Virginia will reward him.
Leahy: He may be thinking that – yes.
Carmichael: So this is the problem, by the way. Another thing I did over the weekend, Michael, was I carefully researched every road and bridge in the continental United States and Hawaii and Alaska.
Leahy: You were busy.
Carmichael: Is actually in one of our states.
Carmichael: Except for Washington, D.C., except for that little tiny area. We have a great legislature, let me say that. But even back when Democrats were in charge, even back then, there’s no way that Democrats in the Tennessee legislature could have passed a Tennessee ‘infrastructure bill’ on the backs of the taxpayers of just Tennessee, that included this type of ridiculous stuff that’s in a federal infrastructure program.
This is why historically – and I only have to go back to the 1950s when our interstate highway system was passed with a defense appropriation – our Congress did not believe that under the Constitution it had the right to actually spend money on roads or bridges. Didn’t think it even had that right.
Leahy: Had to kind of invent a right.
Carmichael: They had to invent a right by claiming that in a case of a war, we need to be able to move troops and equipment quickly around the country so we needed to have an interstate highway system to move military equipment.
Leahy: That was clever and true, but a very small part of what it’s used for. You do occasionally see some troops going through.
Carmichael: Occasionally you do. But the point is, is that once that happened, then the dam broke, and then anything goes. Now you’ve got the Democrats claiming that infrastructure is infrastructure.
Leahy: Healthcare is infrastructure.
Carmichael: Everything is infrastructure.
Leahy: When everything is infrastructure, Crom, nothing is infrastructure.
Carmichael: That’s right. There’s nothing in the Constitution that gives Congress the authority to spend money on infrastructure. It all started where Congress did have the authority to spend money on the military. This is what happens when you start changing the definitions.
And then you get into this three-point-five or five-point-five or seven-point-five, and nobody really, really knows how much this so-called human infrastructure thing will amount to because it is an entitlement.
Leahy: That is exactly right. It’s not an infrastructure hard asset. It’s entitlement to a special privileged group.
Carmichael: No, it’s not. The group is so large that it will become impossible to sustain. Now, I want to be clear about this, because when Medicare was passed in 1960, that was an entitlement.
And they estimated that Medicare by 1988 would cost $8 billion dollars. By 1988, it was $80 billion dollars. It didn’t change the fact on whether or not it passed and whether or not it was there.
Leahy: Let me just interject you for a moment. We’re now in 2021. There are three particular things that happened between 1955 and 1965 that, in essence, have helped destroy the budget.
Number one, the highway spending bill that you just referenced under the Eisenhower administration. Number two, when John F. Kennedy allowed federal government employees to unionize,
Carmichael: He didn’t just allow it, he signed an executive order. And then, then, well, then it became legal. He legalized it with the executive order. And then Congress then passed a bill.
Leahy: And you had the Medicare. This all happened 1955 to 1965.
Carmichael: Well, 1968, because Medicare and Medicaid was great society stuff.
Leahy: No one at the time realized the import of all this.
Carmichael: That’s right. That’s right.
Leahy: And look what happened.
Carmichael: Now here’s what’s interesting. I’ll be very quick about this – in Britain, just on health care, they’re going to increase the payroll tax from 12 percent of employee pay to 13 percent of employee pay. The employer part, this is just for healthcare, is now 13.8 percent. I want to talk about the implications.
Leahy: More regulation, more crushing of small business.
Carmichael: And more taxes on the middle class.
Leahy: There you go. Crushing the middle class.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Crom Carmichael” by Crom Carmichael.