Waste-Loving Stephen Colbert Cheers Biden: Spend! Spend! Spend!

June 29th, 2021 3:35 PM

On Monday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert had Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on to discuss the massive infrastructure spending being pushed by the Biden administration. Talking to the person who oversees the nation's transportation system, surely Colbert would ask Buttigieg tough questions about where the money was going and how to ensure taxpayer dollars would not be wasted. No, of course not! 

“Now, everyone, including myself in today's monologue, is talking about Thursday's bipartisan infrastructure bill,” Colbert said to Buttigieg: 
“So let's call it, ballpark, a trillion dollars’ infrastructure spending. It adds up. A trillion dollars. As the guy who oversees the transportation system or the administration of our transportation system, do you have some say of where that gets spent?” “Well, yeah. I mean, that's part of my job,” the cabinet secretary responded.



“Okay. So did you think, when you took this job, it was going to have that big of a money gun that you could point -- I mean, in a positive way, have a money injection? How about that?” asked Colbert, excited to see how Americans' money would be wasted.

“Explain to me, as if I were a child, what's going to happen with the trillion dollars,” Colbert asked Buttigieg as his audience laughed and cheered.
“Okay. Well, Stephen- When you get $1.2 trillion, which is $1,200,000,000,000, which is 1,200,000,000,000 -- did I get that right?” Buttigieg asked.
“I didn’t know there was going to be math,” said Colbert, making his audience laugh more.

Buttigieg then went on to spew about all the ways the money would be spent, resulting in greater debt for the United States: “Our airports should be the envy of the world. Tunnels -- in fact, I spent part of today in the Hudson river tunnel, which is a piece of infrastructure -- Sounds like people here know it.”

There are examples of that in small towns, big cities across the country,” continued Buttigieg. He then proclaimed: 

“Now's our chance to have the best bridges, roads and tunnels, transit, trains -- I always thought I would be the biggest passenger rail guy, but obviously in this administration I'm second place but trying to make it a close second. This is the biggest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak was created.”

This ended with more thundering applause and Colbert congratulating Buttigieg for being a typical politician.

Colbert’s show was brought to viewers by Old Navy and Allstate. Click on the links to let them know what you think of Colbert pushing such waste. 

Here is a transcript of the June 28 show:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert



PETE BUTTIGIEG: Well, the biggest thing was just to think about how much has changed and how much change is possible, and it's not just -- I mean, certainly being the first out member cabinet confirmed by the senate, I should say, to be historically accurate. But it wasn't that long ago, in the '50s there was the lavender scare. You couldn't even be a bookkeeper or astronomer in the government without your job being at risk if you were gay. So I wanted to convey a sense of how much has changed in a short amount of time but also how far we have to go. As we speak in states around the country, there are politicians who decided it's good politics to attack transgender kids, some of the most vulnerable people in our society. High school is terrifying when you're not transgender. And these kids have the courage to be who they are and they want to be accepted and go the bathroom and play sports like everybody else and live. The really dangerous thing is if you have people in positions of responsibility going around whose position basically is that transgender people don't exist, some young people will hear that message as one that transgender people shouldn't exist and some will believe it. 

STEPHEN COLBERT: I hadn't heard that argument, there's no such thing at transgender

BUTTIGIEG: If you think about it, that's what their argument boils down to, right, that they're just kind of wrong somehow. But what we're talking about is someone's ability to live and to live well, and that's one of the basic things politicians are in charge of securing, not threatening. So I hope that it will prove to be not good politics to pick on transgender kids, when these political attacks and terrible laws get beaten back. So that was the other part of my message.

COLBERT: It's up to the voters to think about these decisions they're making. Now, everyone, including myself in today's monologue is talking about Thursday's bipartisan infrastructure bill

BUTTIGIEG: Deal, yeah

 COLBERT: Okay, deal. So let's call it ballpark a trillion dollars’ infrastructure spending. It adds up. A trillion dollars, as the guy who oversees the transportation system or the administration of our transportation system, do you have some say of where that gets spent? 

BUTTIGIEG: Well, yeah. I mean, that's part of my job. 

COLBERT: Okay. So did you think, when you took this job, it was going to have that big of a money gun that you could point -- I mean, in a positive way, have a money injection? How about that? A money vaccine so you can put it into -- like what do you want to spend it on? Can we finally make the golden gate bridge actually golden or something like that? Can we do something? What can we do? What would be the first priority?

BUTTIGIEG: May not be the best use of taxpayer dollars.

COLBERT: People often say what's it like to talk to then mayor Pete? I say it's interesting, he's a politician but he actually answering’s the question you can him and answers it in a very simple and plain way. Explain to me, as if I were a child, what's going to happen with the trillion dollars. 

BUTTIGIEG: Okay. Well, Stephen- When you get $1.2 trillion, which is $1,200,000,000,000, which is 1,200,000,000,000 -- did I get that right? 

COLBERT: I didn’t know there was going to be math

BUTTIGIEG: So, look, there's roads and bridges. They are in rough shape. We've got thousands upon thousands of bridges that need to be repaired. We've got to improve our airports. I mean, if you travel abroad, you see the condition of other airports. Our airports should be the envy of the world. Tunnels -- in fact, I spent part of today in the Hudson river tunnel, which is a piece of infrastructure -- Sounds like people here know it. 

COLBERT: It’s got a fancy new name.

BUTTIGIEG: Hudson River Tunnel, part of the Gateway Project

COLBERT: Yeah, the Gateway Project

BUTTIGIEG: The number of passengers, the number of trains that go through this one tunnel and if it failed, basically, it would cripple the northeast corridor. It would be so destructive to our economy you would feel the impact back in Indiana where I come from. It has the best technology and construction engineering of 1-9d 10. But we're depending on 110-year-old piece of infrastructure. So fixing that tunnel and the bridges that lead to it, these are the examples that are the kinds of things we haven't been able to invest of in this country. There are examples of that in small towns, big cities across the country. Now's our chance to have the best bridges, roads and tunnels, transit, trains -- I always thought I would be the biggest passenger rail guy, but obviously in this administration I'm second place but trying to make it a close second. This is the biggest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak was created.