Build, build, build? Who will pay for big plans?

February 23, 2014 

Democrats had quite the lovefest last week when Vice President Joe Biden came to Granite City. They could hardly stop patting themselves on the back. Or saying inane things. "Any man who's good enough for Jill Biden deserves to be our vice president," gushed U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart. Huh?

Obviously this was all about campaigning for state Democrats in this year's elections. That made it surprising that Biden spent so much time talking about the past -- a stimulus program that happened five years ago.

Biden thought he was clever to say he hadn't written a memo since then. Right, that's a profile in leadership.

It felt odd that they were celebrating the $800 billion in stimulus spending when Illinois benefited so little. Republicans point out that Illinois has 60,000 fewer jobs than it did before the stimulus. The state's jobless rate of 8.6 percent is higher than the national average.

In Biden's view, we just need to keep spending.

"Build, build, build," Biden told the crowd. "Build the most modern infrastructure in the world and the world will come to us."

And which insolvent entity is supposed to pay for all the building? The federal government, which is $17 trillion in debt, or Illinois, which owes its public pension funds $100 billion?

Gov. Pat Quinn invoked Abraham Lincoln and talked about the need for public-private partnerships. We've seen a lot of public spending from Quinn, but no leadership on partnerships with private companies.

Biden pointed to a study that said half of the American companies in China would like to return home.

Democrats just don't get it that the reason many businesses haven't come back, the reason corporations have money sitting on the sidelines now, is the party's ineffective economic policies. If Biden and Co. could just stop congratulating themselves on all the government spending, perhaps they would see that their ideas aren't really working.

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