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LIBERTARIANS AND BRIDGES

April 28, 2019

LIBERTARIANS AND BRIDGES

Professor Kennedy in her blog today reviewed some of the literature on bridges that are caving in for lack of maintenance, the most recent example of which is in Chattanooga. Fortunately, no one was hurt, unlike the tragedy several years ago in Minnesota, where several Americans were killed when a bridge there caved in. Engineering bridge experts tell us we have thousands of such bridges in various states of repair in need of maintenance, some dire. I thought when the Minnesota bridge collapsed that we would see an immediate response from the Congress to address these defects in our infrastructure. I was especially interested since I, a then resident of Michigan, had driven over that Minnesota bridge in an RV many times while going to and from Alaska, but nothing happened;  apparently the Congress would rather appropriate our tax money for tax breaks for the rich and corporate class than do bridge repairs and save American lives. I responded to Professor Kennedy’s blog, slightly edited, as follows.

 

I think the problem is one of governing philosophy and that the Republican Party has been captured by libertarian interests (see Kochs, Mercers et al) whose sole interest is in making money in a wild west marketplace devoid of regulation, and whatever we may think about Chinese authoritarianism (and I deplore it), they are investing in infrastructure and their people and we aren’t, investing trillions instead in tax breaks for the libertarian rich and corporate class (see the Trump-Ryan recent tax law). Result? The Chinese have bullet trains (indirectly funded by American multinational corporations in search of cheap labor- which they found) while our politicians talk about them but all the while lavishing ever more borrowed tax money on our grandchildren’s dime to present day libertarian capitalists run amok.

I think finally that the FDR approach to governing which invested in people and infrastructure (TVA, CCC, WPA, Social Security, federal bank deposit insurance etc.) is the way to go if we really want to make America great again as opposed to current political  use of the phrase as a meaningless propaganda tool. Republicans, of course, as they did with Social Security in 1935, would denounce any such investments as socialism (read save that money for more tax cuts for our reelection contributors), but I for one am interested in any ism that works, and the one we have today is only working for the entrenched few via tax breaks for the rich and wage and wealth inequality for the rest of us, which I find intolerable. We badly need new policy-making personnel come the fall of 2020, personnel who value lives over further enrichment of the already rich.    GERALD      E

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