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Liberal comedian Bill Maher took an axe to President Joe Biden’s frequently touted “Build Back Better” proposal this week, warning podcast host Joe Rogan that the majority of money appropriated for it would wind up in the hands of consultants.
He made the remark during a wider rant about wasteful government spending.
A clip from the show begins with Maher complaining specifically about the “graft” vis-a-vis all the COVID spending that’s occurred under both the Trump and Biden administrations.
“Graft” is a political term that refers to the corrupt movement of money from one party (namely the government) to another.
“The percentage of graft keeps getting higher and higher. Now we found out recently that something like … 20 percent, I think, of the unemployment checks we passed during COVID were complete fraud. The PPP. … I mean, J.K. Rowling got money for her Broadway show. Everybody got money,” he said.
Listen to his full remarks below:
Staying on the same subject, he then wondered when exactly it’d be OK for him to complain about the fact that, as a separate example, Los Angeles is currently spending nearly $1,000,000 per unit to build homes for the homeless.
“Like, when you look at the number to build a house for the homeless in L.A., it’s risen to 837,000. … If I’m complaining about that … people would say, oh, you’re complaining about government spending money. And my answer is, OK, but is there any number at which point I am not tipped over into the Republican side, that I can’t complain about money that is just being stolen?” he said.
“I mean, as a good liberal, I totally accept the notion that, as someone once said, you cannot transfer money except with a leaky bucket. I get it. It can’t be perfect. But is there no number for which I cannot remonstrate against this?” he asked.
When someone complains about wasteful government spending, they’re called a Republican. Maher was asking if there’s any level of government spending so exorbitantly wasteful that it’d finally be OK for liberal Democrats to complain about it.
Rogan responded by suggesting perhaps “20 percent,” meaning if 20 percent of government spending was wasteful “graft,” then it’d be OK. But there was just one problem.
“Twenty percent is a low [number]. It’s even higher than that. That was only the unemployment checks. The PPP stuff was even higher,” Maher argued.
Sticking to the same topic, the liberal comedian then talked about all the money that California wasted trying to build a high-speed rail train that was ultimately never even completed.
DOT announces cancellation of $929 million in grants for California’s now-stopped high-speed rail project. Also “actively exploring every legal option to seek the return from California of $2.5 billion in Federal funds FRA previously granted for this now-defunct project.”
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) February 20, 2019
“California tried to build a railroad. They wanted to build a rail line between LA and San Francisco. Made sense. It’s a big, long state, and cars and blah, blah, good for the environment. They finally pulled the plug because it just became too ridiculous. It was at $200 million a mile,” Maher said.
“Now France … a very unionized country, did it for like one-seventh, which is something like $15 million dollars a mile or whatever. But I mean, $200 million a mile, and it was only to connect Bakersfield to, I don’t know, Pacoima or something, and they couldn’t even do that.”
Last but not least, Maher finally addressed the topic at hand: Biden’s “Build Back Better” proposal.
“When I hear about ‘Build Back Better,’ OK, look, certainly the country needs to get rebuilt. I mean, the infrastructure is a mess. But I’m thinking, always, like, when you give me a number, it’s like it just seems like you pulled it out of your ass,” he said.
As an example, he pointed to the way administrations, be they Republican or Democrat-led, have a tendency of just throwing out random numbers when offering price tags for their proposals.
“You know, it’s going to cost $1.5 billion. We know that, and it came in right at that round number to rebuild this or something. And are we going over this with a fine-tooth? What if we only spent 1.2 billion or trillion?” he said.
“What would we be sacrificing? Anything? Because so much of that money is going to consultants and just being siphoned off by all the pigs at the trough, all snorting this shit up with their big f–king snouts.”
And therein lay his core point — that so much of government spending is wasted within the bureaucracy itself, with only slivers of it ever reaching the people and institutions the money’s ostensibly designed to help/boost.
It’s an infamous, longtime problem of government, but the fact that even a liberal Democrat like Maher now recognizes it seems like a good sign …
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