Like most, I am aghast at the collapse of the I-35 bridge across the Mississippi yesterday; the photos in the news look like they were taken in Baghdad – but, of course, it can’t happen to here. Well, by gum, it can. For decades, our so-called leaders in the White House and Congress have been so enamored of the military-industrial complex that they ignored and/or brushed aside the advice of numerous public managers and citizens that the nation’s infrastructure was crumbling. Ever since Ronald Reagan abolished Federal Revenue Sharing to states and localities for public services and projects, the allocation of federal funds to arms and weapons manufacturers has grown while spending on domestic needs has shrunk. This country’s safety depends on domestic strength not imperial ambition. That means a rethinking of our national priorities. The military shell around the USA cannot mask its putrefying interior, despite Mr. Bush’s fighting words. Mr. Giuliani taunts those who want to attend to domestic needs as wanting “Nanny government.” Well, what we have right now is “Ninny government.” Give me a Nanny at the helm over a Ninny any day.
Sadly, however, it’s “we the people” who are the true Ninnies. We elect Ninnies to do what we want, and not what we need: We think we want:
- low gas prices (don’t increase taxes for the Highway Fund);
- smooth traffic flow (don’t block traffic lanes to make highway repairs); and
- freedom to drive whenever we want (provide endless oil supplies.)
It’s time we the people grew up, got real, and paid attention to the facts of life. There are no free lunches and politicians who promise ’em are frauds..