The Administration’s vast plans for “infrastructure” and for transforming America into a care economy are causing apoplexy in opponents. The Republicans are basing their opposition on the cost of the plans, the payment for them and that they are “socialism.”

I haven’t seen any comments making the point that the creation of the programs being proposed, their staffing, and their oversight are things the government is uniquely unable to do.

The New Deal of the 1930’s, and to some extent Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society yield a hint of what has to happen if the federal government wants to spend money over and above funding existing departments and their programs.

The reason that the government in this toxic legislative environment is generally funded by “cr” (“continuing resolution”) is because all the congress can agree on is spending the same amount of money on the same functions as they did last year.

That was not true of the New Deal. Agencies such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Work Projects Administration were newly created programs, including detailed plans, that fell to the Labor Department under Frances Perkins to implement. Under her leadership, the Department did it.

If the congress acts on the Biden infrastructure legislation (a big “if” unless budget reconciliation sleight of hand is used) that will authorize expenditures in the general areas of transportation, home care, boosting manufacturing, housing, research and development, water, physical needs of schools, digital infrastructure and workforce development.

Only then does the congress actually appropriate the money for identified programs that do not now exist and that the authorization cannot address.

In fact to get the ball rolling the congressional appropriators have to identify with particularity and in detail what they are appropriating for and to create an oversight mechanism that effectively operates as an audit of what happened to the appropriated money.

So the steps are authorize, appropriate, execute and supervise.

In our federal system, the states are set up to execute anything that comes out of the process and the federal government is not. That in and of itself is a nightmare. Without throwing stones, compare implementation in Alabama and Connecticut, for example.

In addition to the states, another way to direct the money is to give it to private contractors.  Those of you interested in, say, “workforce development” should set up  a company called “John Doe [your name] Workforce Development LLC.” Just make sure it is woke, diverse, loaded with “equity” features and politically connected.

I myself am considering bridge repair and starting a company called “Equitable Bridgeworks LLC”  with members who also happen to be on the board of the ACLU.

A good example of what the government does not do is the federal Department of Education. It has no line function in the teaching of students. To some limited degree it imposes standards as the price of federal assistance to states and localities, a kind of legalized blackmail. Actual education responsibility is not in the federal government.

To be clear, the government can send checks such as the recent “stimmy” and it can fund doctors and hospitals through Medicare.

The general categories of proposed infrastructure spending must involve thousands of new employees to implement them. Those employees do not exist.

I do not address the other piece of legislation centered on education and child care. But the problems are the same.

I strongly support an infrastructure renaissance but I am concerned that in the cacophony of media and politician criticisms no one is mentioning that the federal government has no idea how to repair a road or to implement–wait for it–research and development!