Monday, August 20, 2012

We're Not Broke

During the last gubernatorial election here in Wisconsin, one of the major issues was the train connecting Milwaukee and Madison. The constant refrain we heard from our Tea Party governor was “we can’t afford it!" (even though the funding was already there) This was music to the ears of the Tea Party, who object to government spening in any form whatsoever. Of course, if you think we can't afford it now, wait until gasoline is five dollars a gallon. Sadly, the train won't be there.

Here are some things, we CAN afford, however:
In spite of clich├ęs about Nascar dads and Walmart moms, the actual share of voters nationally who are up for grabs is probably between just 3 percent and 5 percent in this election, polling experts say. The Obama and Romney campaigns are expected to spend on the order of $2 billion, in part to try to sway this tiny share of the electorate.

That's right, two billion dollars not going for alternative transportation or infrastructure, but rather to persuade a few million"low information voters" to vote for KFC instead of Taco Bell. Oh, and what else can we afford?
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is spending big - just under $100 million - to combat drug smugglers who use small aircraft worth only a few thousand dollars each to ferry narcotics into the U.S.

 So the next time you hear the Tea Party complain about how "broke" we are, you might want to cast an eye of suspicion. We're not broke, we're spending plenty of money on the wrong things.

If you heard the latest Extraenvironmentalist podcast, you heard the guest talk about how the smartest thing we can do is to start moving people by rail instead of by airplane, especially for trips under 500 miles. He also recommended investing in a high quality DC grid to prepare for the evental electrification of transport, and stated, "Fifty years from now if you haven’t figured out how to run your society on less oil, than your economy will shrink." I guess that's what we're in for, thanks to the supposedly uber-capitalist Tea party, who, as I posted a bit ago, are now opposing streetcars here in Milwaukee. Face it, a dumbed-down reactionary America will never invest in the things we will need to make a functional economy in the age of diminishing petroleum supplies.

And in other news, No One Will Charged With a Crime for the MF Global Collapse (Yahoo!)


  1. Okay, that YouTube is Neo-Con bullshit. 'Bi-partisan' my ass! Washington is gridlocked because the GOP is blocking everything as part of their openly stated goal to make Obama a one term president.

    I have no great love him or the Dems. They're a gaggle of Center/Right Corporatists, but they at least make some attempt to govern. That's likely why a recent poll of global CEO's said that most of them thought Obama the best choice for the economy.

  2. I was disappointed in that journalism too, but I left it up to show what kind of drivel is coming out of the bottomless pit of think tanks that seem to be running the government (seriously, how many of these are there - Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth, Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, Cato Institute - half the economy must be devoted to justifying tax cuts for the rich).

    A moment's thought reveals why this is stupid - these are the exact same people who tell us that states can't raise taxes on businesses of they will flee to states with cheaper tax rates. So if the states, who are not sovereign and cannot print money or run a deficit, are responsible ("local control") for infrastructure, who is going to pay for it? The workers making minimum wage? States are reliant upon what revenues they can extract from businesses within the state, which is highly variable, and they've already been shifting the burden onto citizens. Plus, most transportation projects straddle multiple jurisdictions ( counties, states, etc. - duh!)

    Compare this to the Depression, whose works of infrastructure we are still using today to see how far we've fallen. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter what you or I think, the inmates are running the asylum.


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