Sunday, August 05, 2007

Are the Dead From the Minneapolis Bridge
Collapse Victims of Conservative Ideology?

Why, yes, of course they are.

From AlterNet:

It was the second U.S. bridge collapse this week -- a span in California fell the day before, with far fewer injuries and no loss of life. The tragedy occurred just weeks after an 80-year-old steam pipe in Manhattan blew up, killing one and injuring dozens more. A year earlier, a section of tunnel in Boston collapsed, killing a woman as she drove home. A year before that, hundreds of thousands of Americans became refugees after New Orleans' pitiable levees collapsed -- a graphic illustration of shortsighted public policy if ever there was one. The AFL-CIO estimates that more than one in four roads are in "less than good condition." Minnesota ranks low on their list, with about one in eight failing to make the grade.

It's all part of a larger picture. We have a crumbling power grid and are falling behind the rest of the world in broadband infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) talks of "congested highways, overflowing sewers and corroding bridges" that are "constant reminders of the looming crisis that jeopardizes our nation's prosperity and our quality of life." Every year the engineering society issues a report card grading 15 categories of America's once-premier infrastructure. In 2005, that "core" infrastructure collectively got a "D-," slightly worse than the "D" it received in 2000. Ironically, the nation's bridges received the highest score -- a "C" -- in 2005.


A thousand grifters have gained office promising to cut taxes as if they existed in a vacuum, without mentioning the cost; no politician has ever won office promising to keep highways from collapsing on their constituents. For 30 years, we've been told by a series of right-wing snake-oil salesmen that they could deliver more and better public services while constantly cutting the taxes that pay for them, but it was always a fraud. The result is that the United States enjoys the third-lowest tax burden among the 30 most advanced economies as its public spaces gradually come apart at the seams.

Click here for the rest.

This is really a no-brainer. Conservatives have been boasting for years about how "government is the problem," about how they want to make government small enough "to drown it in a bathtub." Their rhetoric has been so fiery and insistent, so omnipresent by virtue of the fact that conservatives own all mainstream news media, that the ostensibly liberal Democrats have been infected. This isn't about political parties: this is about dead end conservative philosophy capturing the imaginations of elected officials.

It doesn't take an idiot to understand that if the prevailing political winds say that government must be destroyed that government will eventually be destroyed. And as government crumbles to ruins, everything it has built will go with it.

That's what's happening right now.