Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, August 03, 2007

No Money to Fix America’s Bridges, Highways

The tragedy in Minnesota has sparked a chain reaction all over the country. Where I live, one bridge has been closed permanently and eleven other bridges are being “watched.” And this is exactly what's happening all across America.

The blunt truth is, our budget has been stretched to the breaking point (literally in this case) and we just don’t have the money to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure. And crumbling it is.

Is there any possible way we could come up with the money we need to prevent more bridges and highways from collapsing? Don’t mind me; I'm just headtripping here for a minute, just bouncing around a few totally unrelated thoughts.

Let’s see, we've spent hundreds of billions of dollars on the war on Iraq, and all we have to show for it is four thousand dead American soldiers and the hatred of most of our former allies. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t seem very cost-effective.

We’re spending tens of billions of dollars every year to pay for The War on Drugs. How’s that working for us?

We've drained trillions of dollars out of the U.S. Treasury to pay for those tax cuts to the wealthiest one percent of the population.

So anyway, I've got all these random factoids bouncing around in my head but nothing seems to be clicking. Hmmm…[drums fingers]…Our entire infrastructure is collapsing and we don’t have any money to fix it…We’re spending trillions of dollars to invade other countries, regulate people’s “morals” and give huge taxpayer handouts to people who already have more money than God…

Well, damnit, I seem to be drawing a blank. Anybody have any ideas?

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Blogger LET'S TALK said...

Let's see, we cannot trust the States to use of tax dollars to help improve our infrastructure. We cannot rely on the Federal government to use our tax dollars to help in the improvement and repair of our infrastructure.
Just what can we do or who can we trust to get our infrastructure healthy?
We need a special fund from our tax dollars from the State and Federal government that cannot be touched for any reason but to repair America's infrastructure.

August 3, 2007 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

If they had taken the billions which will turn into trillions and put it into the roads and infrastructure of the U.S, millions of good jobs would be created, healthcare for all could be paid for, and our country would not be internally falling apart.

August 3, 2007 at 8:22 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Let's Talk: That sounds like a great idea but would it work? How long would it take for that "cannot be touched" money to be hijacked for our latest military adventure or the newest tax cut?

August 3, 2007 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Larry: So true. A functioning infrastructure, the creation of millions of good jobs and universal healthcare -- all for the price of invading Iraq.

August 3, 2007 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

great post....looks like you and larry and Lets' talk figured out what was and is wrong....gee , ya' think we have spent tooooo much at Iraq....

August 3, 2007 at 11:54 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Enigma4ever: Why yes, Irag just might have something to do with this.

August 4, 2007 at 2:04 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

Gee, I remember Al Gore talking about the need to improve our infrastructure way back before the 2000 election.

August 4, 2007 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Candace: Yup, I think a lot of people have seen this coming for a long time.

August 4, 2007 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

I fear it will take a few more incidents like the one in the Twin Cities before Americans realize the depth and severity of the problem and before we get angry enough to demand some changes.

And yeah, I think you're right Tom, the money is there. It will involve some restructuring of budgetary priorities to find that money, and that will include things like eliminating the billions going to Iraq and to the war on drugs, and rescinding Bush's tax cuts for our wealthiest citizens. No progress will be made in that direction until at least 1/20/09, but I think it can happen once the boil on America's ass is lanced.

August 5, 2007 at 1:05 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Unfortunately I think you're right, that it'll take a few more incidents like the bridge in Minnesota. And I'm afraid there are thousands of these accidents waiting for a place to happen all across the country. The infrastructure is weak and most government agencies that "protect" us (i.e. FEMA) are just hollow shells. They've been completely gutted of any effectiveness or leadership. This is exactly what makes America vulnerable; not the fact that we aren't invading enough countries or our weapons aren't fancy enough.

Yes, our current "leader" is most certainly a boil on America's ass. Lance That Boil!

August 5, 2007 at 1:21 AM  
Anonymous kip152 said...

Bush built a bridge to the 21st century all right.

August 5, 2007 at 10:38 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...


Well for starters, I think we better raise the limit on the public debt since we are only $55 billion away from $9 trillion.

August 5, 2007 at 11:31 AM  
Blogger Suzie-Q (S-Q) said...

Yes, Larry, you speak the absolute truth!

We must take this country back and end the war! Take care of America!

August 5, 2007 at 11:50 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kip152: He ought to get on Ted Stevens' Bridge to Nowhere and just keep driving.

Prague Twin: $9 trillion? That's a lot of money. Whatever we have to do.

Suzie-Q(S-Q): "Take care of America" -- damn right. Let's fix our infrastructure (and health care, education, the environment, etc.) and then if we have any money left over we can invade other countries.

August 5, 2007 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger ParisL0ve2 said...

I happen to live in Minnesota, so I can give a little more info for those that aren't from the state.

For starters, don't be fooled by Tim Pawlenty. We like to refer to him as Tim Pawlenty of Bullshit or Tim Pawlenty of NOTHING around here. He is a liar. He refuses to tell people that he has vetoed the transportation bill in our state 3 times in the past year. Why? Because he didn't want a 3 to 5 cent gas tax increase to pay for these much needed repairs. His great idea was to pay for it by borrowing money from somewhere else. Now he says that he'll consider the gas tax increase as long as the Dems in the legislature agree to listen to his ideas.

The Lt. Gov of the state is a total bitch. Not to mention, her position as Lt. Governor and as the Transportation Commissioner in this state seems to me like a total conflict of interest. She's trying to get Pawlenty to not go along with the tax increase. People are telling her to resign.

The two of them need to go!!

In 1990, the state was warned that there were problems with that bridge. Since 1990, we've had three governors. Tim Pawlenty is the third. None of them did a damn thing!! In 2001, the Feds reported that there were problems with that bridge. In 2005 and 2006, there were problems with that bridge.

I don't know about you but if someone were to tell me that something was deficient, it would be fixed or torn down immediately. I wouldn't be waiting until 2020 to do something about it which is exactly what the state planned to do despite the warnings.

The politicians and others in the state are telling the victims (living), their families, and the families of those who are missing how to feel, what to think, and so on. They're telling these people not to start pointing fingers and start blaming others. Seriously, when is the time correct? When are these people who knew that something was wrong and did nothing about it going to stand up and take responsibility?

The people of the state of Minnesota deserve answers. We have a right to feel the way we do. We have a right to blame people. But more importantly, the victims and their families have an ABSOLUTE RIGHT to blame people. They have an ABSOLUTE RIGHT to feel the way they want. They have an ABSOLUTE RIGHT to know the truth. And so does every last person in this country. We have a right to know that our infrastructure is safe, and that we're not going to die while driving over a bridge.

August 6, 2007 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

ParisLOve2: Thanks for the info. I've read that the governor and lt. governor are total assholes. Vetoing a transportation bill because of a 3-5 cent gas tax, that's unbelievable. I can't believe how people don't even flinch when the oil companies double or triple the price of gas, and then they go ballistic at the thought of a 3 cent gas tax increase. These people must have flunked math in 3rd grade.

I think a lot of bridges and highways are in danger of collapsing. Our infrastructure was the envy of the world 50 years ago when it was built, but it has to be maintained. Maybe we could save some lives by taking a few dollars out of the Iraqi warchest and spending them on repairing our bridges.

August 6, 2007 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger ParisL0ve2 said...

They are definitely both assholes.

Pawlenty has spent the last few years trying to get funding for a new Twins baseball stadium. He was far more concerned with a baseball team owner threatening to take the team and leave the state if they didn't get a new stadium. I say, let them leave!! When your priority is a baseball team and nothing else in your state, your priorities are seriously out of whack.

He refuses to accept responsibility for his part in all this. He knew that there were problems with this bridge. Yet, he's playing dumb and he's blatantly lying.

Let's also not forget that it's a known fact at least here in the state of Minnesota that he's grooming himself to be either a VP candidate or to eventually run for President. That's his priority!!

Oh, and one other thing about him. He wants that bridge rebuilt and finished by the time the Republithugs have their 2008 convention there next year. How many shortcuts are they going to take when building that bridge to get it up there by next year? And are we going to be digging bodies out of the rubble of that bridge when it collapses because he rushed it?

The Lt. Governor is a real piece of work too. As I already said, she's also the Transportation Commissioner.

She came out the other day and got uptight because someone asked her a question. She said, "Do you honestly believe that I would knowingly put my daughter's life in danger?" Her daughter drove over that bridge each day to go to work.

Um, YES!! As Lt. Governor, she knew that there were problems with that bridge. And as Transportation Commissioner, she most definitely knew that there were problems with that bridge. How could she not have known? Yet, she let her daughter and everyone else use it!!

I would gladly pay an extra tax on gas, or pay whatever to make sure that the bridge I was traveling on isn't going to fall out from underneath me.

P.S. A bridge in my city will be undergoing inspection for at least three weeks because the deck is built just like the one that fell. We just heard about that today. It also happens to span out over water as well. I'm not sure how far the drop is, but it's at least as high if not higher than the one in Minneapolis. Nice!!

August 6, 2007 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

ParisLOve2: Oh yes, that bridge will be up in a jiffy, in time for the 2008 convention; you can count on that. God knows how safe it'll be -- I wouldn't drive on it -- but it'll be up just to make him look good.

Good luck with the bridge they're inspecting in your city. I hope the inspectors do a better job than they did with the other one that collapsed.

August 6, 2007 at 4:58 PM  
Blogger ParisL0ve2 said...

Yeah, I'm sure they'll lie about this bridge like they did the other one.

Unfortunately, I feel sorry for those who have to drive over it. I, on the other hand, refuse to drive over that bridge and another bridge in my city. I haven't been on either of them in over a year, and regardless of their "diagnosis" on this bridge, I will never drive on those bridges again.

August 6, 2007 at 7:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

ParisLOve2: That's what I'd do too, stay off those bridges no matter what.

August 6, 2007 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Pawlenty sounds pretty delusional to me. The Lt. Gov. doesn't sound much better. It always amazes me when assholes of that caliber can rise that high in the political food chain. You see people like Newt Gingrich, Mitch McConnell, Fred Thompson, Ted Stevens, James Inhofe... the list goes on and on... and you have to wonder. People voted for those idiots! How did they get elected, by using Jedi mind tricks? Did they know the right people to blow, and did they service those people?

And these people end up being in charge of things like money that goes for (or does not go for) things like our decaying infrastructure.

August 7, 2007 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Government and industry both seem to be governed more and more by cronyism rather than competence or achievement. CEOs sit on each other's boards of directors and rubber-stamp each other's 7-figure salaries and bonus packages. Cabinet members and other government department heads are chosen according to who they know, whose side they're on, rather than qualifications. People like Brownie and Chertoff are becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Katrinagate, Bridge-gate, selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, losing millions of weapons in Iraq -- the results aren't pretty.

August 8, 2007 at 1:04 AM  
Blogger Mile High Pixie said...

Hmm...we could solve some parts of this problem as well as the climate problem if we were to invest more in public transit (light rail, etc) as Denver recently did in their T-REX road project. Oh, but wait, the climate isn't actually a problem, is it? Oh, never mind. Was I thinking again? Sorry. My bad, neocons, it won't happen again.

August 8, 2007 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mile High Pixie: Public transit? Climate research? You ain't one of them comminists are you? Thinking will get you in trouble every time :)

August 8, 2007 at 8:37 PM  

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