Witness what happened in the last few days in Minneapolis with collapse of a major bridge and a still rising death toll. It should be no surprise. The American Society of Civil Engineers warned in a report two years ago that between 2000 and 2003, more than 27 per cent of the nation's almost 600,000 bridges were rated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. But that's not the only indication of an aging infrastructure. Consider the following:
- An underground steam pipe explosion in NYC on July 18th. "There is no reason to believe whatsoever that this is anything other than a failure of our infrastructure," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference at the scene of the blast.
- The New York blackout of 2003. a massive collapse of electrical service over 240,o00 square kilometers of the US and Canada.
- Two years ago we saw the virtual destruction of a major American city, New Orleans, in Hurricane Katrina, and still remains as a monument to our inability to respond.
- The state of our roads, once the pride of world in post-war America, now crumbling, our transportation systems, including airlines and airports, our nation teetering under a crush of commuter traffic.
- Drinking water, the food supply, the air we breathe....
The irony here is that Minnesota Twins have postponed its groundbreaking for a new stadium -- being built with public dollars. According to Minnesota Public Radio, "...Twins owner Carl Pohlad will pay $130 million towards the stadium. But the plan also requires a Hennepin County sales tax of .15 percent. The tax finances the remaining three quarters of the ballpark's $522 million cost."
Maybe it's that infrastructure just isn't sexy. Who cares about bridges and roads and sewers. Ballparks are fun, power lines are dull.
But the fact is that these dull things are the things that we all rely on. And, if we keep up with this idiotic idea that tax cuts are always good, we're going to watch it all crumble around us. You've got to pay for this stuff and, at both the states and federal levels, we're not. You can't run a nation the size of the US on the cheap. Like everything else in the world, you get what you pay for. And if you pay jack, you get jack.
And you can't blame the government....we are the government, even when we forfeit our responsibility. You get what you pay for...in every way.
Maybe we should just have a garage sale......