While America-the-people wallows in mid-term election grizzlies and gossip, America-the-country is dissolving around us. I heard the top dog of Tea Party Express on CSpan this morning say that the movement (as usual) is about stopping any new taxes and reducing the deficit. It’s nonsense: contradictory goals – a waste of his breath and the airtime. But sadly people believe it’s possible.
It’s not. And 30 years of deregulation and insufficient taxation – and a growing belief that in fact raising taxes is to practically trample on the Constitution and side with the terrorists – have brought us to a sorry state of affairs. While we subsidize everything that ends up costing us in the long run – sugar, gasoline, corn syrup, highways etc., our infrastructure and our educational credentials (see next post) are falling apart.
It’s as though we’re trying to devolve.
Bob Herbert today (my new favorite columnist) talks about water systems.
” . . the truth is that the nation’s water systems are in sorry shape — deteriorating even as the population grows and demand increases. Aging and corroded pipes are bursting somewhere every couple of minutes. Dilapidated sewer systems are contaminating waterways and drinking water. Many local systems are so old and inadequate — in some cases, so utterly rotten — that they are overwhelmed by heavy rain. “
“If this were a first-class society we would rebuild our water systems to the point where they would be the envy of the world, and that would bolster the economy in the bargain. But that would take maturity and vision and effort and sacrifice, all of which are in dismayingly short supply right now.”
“Improving water systems — and infrastructure generally, if properly done — would go a long way toward improving the nation’s dismal economic outlook . . . . every dollar invested in water and sewer improvements has the potential to increase the long-term gross domestic product by more than six dollars. Hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created . . .
“The nation’s network of water systems was right at the bottom of the latest infrastructure grades handed out by the American Society of Civil Engineers, receiving a D-minus. Jeffrey Griffiths, a member of the federal government’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council, told The Times: “We’re relying on water systems built by our great-grandparents, and no one wants to pay for the decades we’ve spent ignoring them. There’s a lot of evidence that people are getting sick. But because everything is out of sight, no one really understands how bad things have become.”
But the gays and the terrorists are out to get us. So there’s really no time for this stuff.
This is a massive failure of government at every level, a failure of both parties. Ultimately however, it’s our own failure.
You get what you ask for. (Of course we’ve managed to convince people to pay for their water in bottles, so maybe it’s okay!)