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American Compass Releases Conservative Economic Agenda for 118th Congress
Comparative Disadvantage
Uncle Sam’s Top-Performing Venture Fund

It took just days for Democrats in the Senate to introduce and then approve $370 billion of climate-change spending, part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden is expected to sign shortly after the House passes it. But clearing the necessary red tape to spend a cent of that money building any climate-related projects will in many cases take years.

Welcome to America’s horrendous process for issuing building permits, made famous by former President Barack Obama’s lament as his administration struggled to spend stimulus dollars during the Great Recession: “There’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects.”

The most onerous step for a major endeavor comes in the form of the environmental impact statement, which a federal agency must prepare whenever it takes action on or approves a project that will significantly impact the environment, as mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. These statements take years to complete and run hundreds or thousands of pages. Upon completion, they instantly become targets for lawsuits from parties that want to stall a project’s progress by claiming some issue went overlooked.

The resulting delays cost America trillions of dollars, according to Common Good, a nonpartisan research organization with a bipartisan advisory board. Old infrastructure doesn’t get updated, newer and cleaner energy sources don’t get developed and, as a consequence, environmental quality is harmed, not helped.

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Oren Cass
Oren Cass is the executive director at American Compass.
@oren_cass
Recommended Reading
American Compass Releases Conservative Economic Agenda for 118th Congress

Today, American Compass is releasing New Direction: Conservative Principles & Policies for the 118th Congress, an agenda for economic renewal, focused on the interests of worker, their families and communities, and the nation.

Comparative Disadvantage

If comparative advantage is created rather than discovered, refusing to play the game has consequences.

Uncle Sam’s Top-Performing Venture Fund

With the Small Business Innovation & Research program, Congress helped build many of the nation’s most innovative firms.