Mike the Mad Biologist

How We Became the Can’t-Do Nation

Chris Matthews makes a very good point (no, really) about our complete failure to upgrade our infrastructure:

We used to build trains and subways and airplanes for the world. Now we read about trains running three hundred miles an hour in France and China and we piddle along on Amtrak like we’re on a buckboard.

Why can’t we build railroads — rapid railroads to unite this country instead of making the vast continent between New York and LA “fly-over country” for the bi-coastal elite to look down on? Why don’t we build “anything” anymore? Would we build the subway systems of our country today? Would we build the Empire State building or the Golden Gate Bridge? Would be build this beautiful capital of Washington today?

I’m guessing no. Matthews:

You know the answer. We don’t build because we have neither the money nor the courage to do it. Republicans don’t believe in public investment, not even real capital investment that builds the economy. They think tax cuts are the one and only way to promote economic progress. Democrats are afraid to challenge them. And while we worry about today, China never stops thinking about tomorrow… investing and spending and creating the jobs we should have right here.

I would also add that doing this stuff would create jobs and help reduce the employment deficit.

Comments

  1. #1 BaldApe
    November 27, 2010

    As a nation we have become like the alcoholic making a choice between getting an oil change for his 15 year old car, and buying another case of beer.

  2. #2 Phillip IV
    November 27, 2010

    America isn’t building “anything” anymore? Are you joking? You’re just not looking in the right places!

    In the last 10 years, America has built the most modern, sophisticated and comprehensive surveillance infrastructure on the planet! It’s the envy of world leaders – Putin can only dream of having anything approaching it, and he’s a pro! China keeps investing billions and billions, and still their citizens aren’t half as well surveyed as Americans. Kim Jong Ill? Let’s not even talk about him – his domestic spying is so backward, he creams his pants when he reads which raw amounts of data the U.S. collects on each single one of their own people.

    Not even to mention all the upgrades to military infrastructure – if you want to see your tax dollars at work, all you have to do is enlist. At what other time in history has their ever been a nation that could afford to fly the corpses of their soldiers back home from a battlefield in a run-down hellhole on the other side of the world? How is that not an impressive achievement?

    You’re just claiming America isn’t building “anything” because you’re only looking in places where it would make sense.

  3. #3 Matt Platte
    November 27, 2010

    There is that bridge out by Hoover Dam…

  4. #4 BaldApe
    November 27, 2010

    Phillip IV,
    That’s the beer I was talking about.

    As has been pointed out before, neglecting infrastructure maintenance due to worry about deficits is disingenuous, since those are costs we already actually have. Like the auto mechanic says “Pay me now, pay me (more) later.”

  5. #5 Russell
    November 27, 2010

    It’s not actually the case that Republicans are against all expenditures on transportation infrastructure. What has happened is a bit more subtle: the car has become the only transportation mode politically acceptable to and approvingly subsidized by Republicans.

  6. #6 Drivebyposter
    November 28, 2010

    As a nation we have become like the alcoholic making a choice between getting an oil change for his 15 year old car, and buying another case of beer.

    Except then we see we can buy even cheaper beer and get a lot more of it, bring ’til we black out and sob until the liquor store opens.

  7. #7 Drivebyposter
    November 28, 2010

    binging ’til we black out… *

  8. #8 Granny
    November 28, 2010

    There are mobile homes (i.e. wobbly boxes). Some are even two stories high. And don’t forget all of the WalMart stores. Those stores take up a lot of space. What do those things that we’ve built represent??

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