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One thing that chart represents, besides intense myopia, is deferred maintenance. At a time when we should be investing a trillion dollars a year or more on infrastructure upgrades, innovations and repairs, the nation has been going the opposite direction, as pointed out in detail here. With such an investment, the unemployment generated by the Great Recession could have been reduced if not wholly eliminated by providing jobs and steady incomes that would have been spent by recipients and thus created more jobs and income, meaning more tax revenue. Instead, joblessness remains high after six years, our bridges and schools are crumbling, and much of our energy and rail infrastructure is dated, obsolete.

Many analysts and activists have for years made the case for vastly larger government infrastructure investments via a modernized Works Progress Administration and other means. Too many politicians see things otherwise. The continuing focus on deficits and national debt instead of putting millions of Americans back to work at a time when the lowball official unemployment rate is at 7.2 percent, is so very, very dumb. FT Alphaville writes:

“There are reasonable debates to be had about the necessity (or non-necessity) of making credible commitments to future fiscal consolidation … But that’s different from arguing that tax and spending policies right now should focus on, or even care about, reducing the budget deficit. And there’s a good chance that we’ll look back with regret at the tightening represented in the chart above, which has taken place during a time when interest rates have been scraping the ground.”

“It’s also likely that much of the investment that has been forgone in the name of fiscal consolidation will have to be made eventually anyways—only it will be made when rates are higher, exacerbating the long-term fiscal outlook rather than improving it.”

Modern Monetary Theorists argue that we never have to worry about the national debt. But even more conventional economists point out that the government can borrow to make infrastructure investments at record low interest rates. Or, instead of pumping $85 billion a month into quantitative easing—which is, in part, an ongoing bailout of bankers in an attempt to get them to lend more—we should just spend that trillion dollars a year directly on infrastructure without the middleman. However it's achieved, it should be done.

As I wrote Thursday in regards to the sky-high levels of unemployment among American Indians:

Such an infrastructure stimulus with its good jobs is, of course, something that many left-of-center activists have been seeking for a long time. Upgrading railroads, public transit and drinking and wastewater facilties, building rural wi-fi, ultra-high voltage transmission lines,  green schools and low-cost housing, renovating the nation's 70,000 substandard bridges and dams, levees and hazardous waste facilities, and modernizing its ports and waterways would create more jobs, long-lasting jobs, than five more rounds of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing. [...]

But, sadly, this is all pie in the sky.

Investing federal dollars in a program of rebuilding, upgrading and innovating infrastructure is something the current gridlock in Washington makes impossible. Which leaves millions of Americans of all colors out of work, or working at poorly paid jobs, whether they live on a reservation in a trailer or in an urban apartment. We can do better. But too few of our leaders seem to want to.

The smartest thing Rahm Emanuel ever said was "You never let a serious crisis go to waste." But thanks to foot-draggers and obstructionists, that is exactly what continues to happen. Those infrastructure investments that could have been made—could still be made if there was the political will and those foot-draggers and obstructionists were swept away—would provide a modern platform for a prosperous and environmentally sustainable future. While the United States limps along in this regard, other nations, from Germany to China, are well along in building those platforms. Are we ever going to get off the stupid pills?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Economics on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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  •  Tip Jar (225+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Polly Syllabic, old wobbly, jamess, bibble, elwior, Penny GC, sow hat, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, allergywoman, Horace Boothroyd III, shesaid, Steveningen, skillet, uniqity, a2nite, 420 forever, kenwards, lunachickie, joe from Lowell, navajo, rickeagle, PhilJD, greenbastard, zerelda, Cali Scribe, kevinpdx, slksfca, SixSixSix, kharma, mrkvica, this just in, Josiah Bartlett, LinSea, belinda ridgewood, roses, MT Spaces, CwV, dannyboy1, GreyHawk, Dianna, Mentatmark, SeaTurtle, wordwraith, glitterscale, elfling, Jimdotz, camlbacker, fixxit, SaintC, JDWolverton, wasatch, Gowrie Gal, Avilyn, TXdem, cordgrass, ArthurPoet, nomandates, 2thanks, TomP, kerflooey, justintime, GeorgeXVIII, anodnhajo, Ian Reifowitz, Simplify, Bob Johnson, CroneWit, Sandy on Signal, ModerateJosh, Eric Nelson, claude, basquebob, boatjones, Assaf, Softlanded, 1greybeard, Radiowalla, FutureNow, p gorden lippy, sngmama, no way lack of brain, Danno11, Shockwave, burlydee, GreenMother, gizmo59, David54, Betty Pinson, Involuntary Exile, BachFan, smileycreek, milkbone, Railfan, jfromga, blueoregon, Santa Susanna Kid, gramofsam1, melo, Statusquomustgo, BalanceSeeker, NM Ray, Cronesense, john07801, TrueBlueMajority, mofembot, xaxnar, Buckeye54, kck, rapala, The Hindsight Times, northerntier, old mark, Youffraita, BlueDragon, petulans, Medium Head Boy, Egalitare, AdamR510, oortdust, wader, IndieGuy, eeff, blackjackal, gulfgal98, Robynhood too, ems97206, Joe Bob, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Steven D, thomask, Azazello, Sylv, prfb, dadadata, tofumagoo, S F Hippie, skybluewater, gof, 3goldens, blueoasis, Rosaura, moviemeister76, MartyM, Powered Grace, KayCeSF, Joieau, bfitzinAR, Celtic Merlin, leeleedee, pvasileff, poopdogcomedy, SottoVoce, sceptical observer, Tim DeLaney, rbird, where4art, bloomer 101, ColoTim, LamontCranston, implicate order, Matilda, Miss Jones, quill, Alumbrados, EdSF, GleninCA, tidalwave1, Pithy Cherub, jwinIL14, bronte17, wallys son, willyr, bluezen, zootwoman, Superpole, peachcreek, Nulwee, Aunt Martha, oldpotsmuggler, shpilk, NBBooks, CJB, Bernie68, Paradigm Change, alice kleeman, JesseCW, HCKAD, oceanview, Ditch Mitch KY, Auburn Parks, not a cent, rasbobbo, SouthernLiberalinMD, PHScott, cocinero, jdmorg, alwaysquestion, BeninSC, Mary Mike, Sorta Randle, ratcityreprobate, Arilca Mockingbird, radical simplicity, Pam from Calif, fumie, tari, TexasTwister, alliwant, Larsstephens, Sandino, Hirodog, weck, War on Error, Just Bob, Glen The Plumber, Oh Mary Oh, koNko, Mr MadAsHell, djohnutk, BruceMcF, Calamity Jean, trkingmomoe, Ironic Chef, MKinTN, Big River Bandido

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:58:48 AM PDT

    •  yeah, concrete (21+ / 0-)

      like in repairing bridges before more people are killed.

      Or is that a pipe dream?  Plumbers and such can chime in here on their wish list.

      Who cares? Who really cares?

      by sow hat on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:07:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There is no such thing as a finite amount of fiat (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, BruceMcF

      money, thats quite literally the definition of fiat money.

      MMT = Reality

      "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

      by Auburn Parks on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:49:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fiat money (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fiona West

        merely means that it is issued without reflecting an underlying convertible limiter to its issuance, e.g. gold. The currency, however, is not wealth—it must still reflect stored value created by means other than a printing press. The often-heard claim that an infinite amount of currency can be printed and placed into circulation is, quite simply, a fundamental misconception.

        •  When have you ever heard anyone say that (0+ / 0-)

          an infinite amount of currency should be printed ad placed into circulation?  Of course its possible, but everyone knows it would be a stupid idea.  I was responding to the point made above that if we hadn't given that money to the banks then we would have had it to spend on infrastructure.  This is a fundamental misunderstanding.  We can always afford to maintain full employment as a nation.  And until we are at full employment with rising wages, the risk of problematic inflation is so small its irrelevant.  After all inflation is the difference in the price level at two different times, it is not simply an increase in the money supply.

          MMT = Reality

          "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

          by Auburn Parks on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:11:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "There is no such thing as a finite amount (0+ / 0-)

            of fiat money," you said. Restated, that seemed to mean that there is an infinite amount of fiat money available. Pardon me for misunderstanding, if all you meant was that currency could be printed ad infinitum, just not used—although that seems an point to make.

            On other grounds, I would disagree both that full employment can always be afforded (you mean to place the federal government as employer of last resort?) and that the resultant diluted money supply would not result in significant inflation (or worse). And, as you surely know, this is fairly ordinary economic theory—it is the novel and untested MMT that requires justification (unavailable, IMO). And I apologize for not getting back to you should you respond further, but it's bedtime here on the east coast for at least one of us.

            •  Its not an odd point to make. It is a simple (0+ / 0-)

              factual statement.  One that almost everyone forgets since they think the Federal Govt's budget is the same as a household budget.

              If you admit that fiat money is infinite, then it doesnt follow logically to disagree that fully employment can always be purchased by the Govt.  That would make no sense.  Now you may not think that is a good policy but certainly you cant think its not possible.

              Yes, the ELR or JG is one possible solution.  But it's not necessary to have full employment as we've had full employment many times in the past without it.  But during those times the rate of money creation was very high, much higher than any Federal deficit save for WWII, private debt = money in case you were wondering what I was referring to.
              Total debt:
              http://research.stlouisfed.org/...
              Private debt to GDP:
              http://static.seekingalpha.com/...

              Fairly ordinary economic theory claims ridiculous things like banks lending out deposits and that the markets set interest rates and thus we should be worried about bond vigiloantes.  ordinary economic theory just won a nobel for the efficient market hypothesis which was given to a man who said that bubbles dont exist.  Greenspan thought banks would regulate themselves and on and on and on.

              But just to assuage your apparent love or ordinary economic theory, I will put inflation in terms you should be able to understand:

              M x V = P x Q

              The reason an increase in the money supply does guarantee inflation is because it is but one variable.  If the Quantity of goods and services go up a corresponding amount (llike what happens when more people are employed producing goods and services), inflation could be zero.  Or the money supply could go up, Quantity could stay the same but the velocity goes down, again no inflation.  So it would seem that your claim that inflation is necessarily the result of full employment would seem to be the claim in need of justification IMO.  I await your attempt at refuting the very simple logic I've put forward here.

              MMT = Reality

              "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

              by Auburn Parks on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:45:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  There is no limit on the amount that can be used . (0+ / 0-)

              ... there is a limit on how much can be used productively, since if we were to hit the economy's productive capacity, it would be more money chasing a fixed quantity of goods.

              But we are well below that limit at present: its not a binding constraint on government spending in the middle of a depression. At present, more spending would be more money chasing more goods, since businesses have ample capacity to expand production in response to orders for more goods & services.

              Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

              by BruceMcF on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 03:47:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It doesn't have to reflect stored value. (0+ / 0-)

          The benefit available from issue of fiat currency to make purchases is, indeed, limited by real limits to resources in our economy ... but with over 10% unemployment of labor in real terms and similar unemployment of productive equipment, that is not an actual issue constraining our ability to engage in infrastructure investment at the moment.

          Mind, failing to make that investment can be a constraint on our ability to act similarly in the future, since the infrastructure itself becomes part of our productive capacity, able to be employed in further productive investment.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 03:44:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That's the point ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... with the current rates, there's a far smaller cut to banksters than normally in infrastructure spending.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 03:42:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  unfortunately, since Reagan, 1%'s greed will out (19+ / 0-)
    Many analysts and activists have for years made the case for vastly larger government infrastructure investments via a modernized Works Progress Administration and other means.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:05:16 AM PDT

  •  Your link was to exactly what I was thinking of. (26+ / 0-)

    ASCE is not your most progressive organization, and they are unabashedly interested in designing and building things, but the last 15 years they have been doing the National Infrastructure  report card it has only gotten worse.

    How in the world are we to keep up, much less advance, when we have invested so little in our civilization for decades?  Welcome to the 21st century, so much like the 19th.

    I'm part of the "bedwetting bunch of website Democrat base people (DKos)." - Rush Limbaugh, 10/16/2012 Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:05:32 AM PDT

    •  Because workers in nice buildings, who aren't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril

      watching their tax supported infrastructure crumble and rot before their very eyes daily, have too much self esteem.

      It's difficult to beat someone down completely, when they live in nice, upkept environs.

      Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

      by GreenMother on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:28:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  so that is why the graph is misleading (0+ / 0-)

      If we are going to attack FOX news for being a fraud, we should not use FOX news tactics.  The graph visually shows a 25% drop as 90%.  The time axis  also seems purposefully unclear.   One also suspects that the 202 mark may be chosen because it is an historically high point.

  •  Thanks for this diary! (17+ / 0-)

    It is nice to see some others talking (would rather they DO) about this huge need. It is only one of the reasons voting for more and better Democrats is so very important. Soon there will be a huge collapse (know of 2 already, one right here in WA) and much loss of life. Unfortunately that is what the knuckle-draggers seem to want, huge loss of life! Like in TX where they are not repaving the roads, because frredumb! So I am hopeful, not hopeless!
    Peace and Blessings!

    United we the people stand, divided we the people fall.

    by Penny GC on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:09:43 AM PDT

  •  We should gradually increase the retail (9+ / 0-)

    gasoline tax and have the increases exclusively fund infrastructure repair, improvement, and expansion.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:13:25 AM PDT

    •  Gasoline tax has not been adjusted for inflation (6+ / 0-)

      nor for the major increases in average gasoline mileage.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:31:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes (3+ / 0-)

        so as more and more hybrids and electric cars come on the market and people buy them, you're going to see the ability to pay for transportation improvements drop.

        I think the last federal gas tax increase was in the early 90s.

        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

        by terrypinder on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:59:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You mean people who can afford to buy them (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rbird, bluezen, JesseCW, TexasTwister

          Hybrid cars are expensive compared to other models and compared to used cars. Many poor people do not have the credit to even qualify for financing either, thanks to one or more of the following:

          Ruined Credit due to Mortgage default or foreclosure
          Ruined Credit due to outstanding, overlarge student loans
          Ruined Credit due to long term unemployment
          Ruined Credit due to bankruptcy involving medical bills

          Or just being from the generationally poor.

          Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

          by GreenMother on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:31:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the effect of higher mileage and hybrids is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            actually measurable right now and has been for a few years now, so I have to assume there are far more people who have been able to afford to switch to a higher-mileage or hybrid vehicle than people may think.

            (also people are driving less, that too is measurable).

            Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

            by terrypinder on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:35:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In the past, cars got higher and higher (0+ / 0-)

              milage in large part because they got lighter, reducing the wear and tear they inflict as a side benefit.

              That's reversed now.  All electric cars, while they have many merits, are damned heavy compared to their ICE equivalents.

              "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

              by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:24:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  the measurable effect is in gas tax receipts. (0+ / 0-)

                Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

                by terrypinder on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 05:04:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes. Heavier cars do substantially more (0+ / 0-)

                  damage to roads.

                  Once upon a time, they used much more gas which means they provided much more revenue for road repair.

                  Now, the heaviest vehicles in the "economy" class inflict a great deal of wear while paying no fuel taxes.  As all-electric SUV's and mini-vans hit the market, the problem is going to get worse.

                  "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

                  by JesseCW on Sun Nov 03, 2013 at 01:48:16 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Mostly we just drive less. Hybrids are out of our (0+ / 0-)

              price range, and out of the range of most people we know.

              However I am not against hybrids or electrics. I wish I could afford to purchase one.

              I don't mean to perpetuate hopelessness or anything like that. It's just new tech is expensive and these are tough times.

              Gentlemen, congratulations. You're everything we've come to expect from years of government training (Zed, MIB).

              by GreenMother on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 07:45:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  The gas tax is 18.5 cents and hasnt been raised (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan, VClib, gjohnsit, JesseCW, Mr MadAsHell

        since 1993. raise it to 50 cents, and you might get some things fixed.

        •  I agree, but would increase it 5 cents a year (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rbird, Mr MadAsHell

          If we did it all at once it could have a very negative impact on the economy.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:51:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ross Perot lost over that 50 Cents per annum (0+ / 0-)
          •  The tax burden on the working & middles classes (7+ / 0-)

            has been creeping up for decades. Looking forward 5-10-15 years, if an influx of Hybrid and fuel cell vehicles occurs (Cars that dont use gas), you've potentially screwed the working poor who will likely be the last to see these new vehicles filter down to them as used cars.

            Yes, there is a better way, IN FDR's first term Fed spending went up from 10% to 20%. Unemployment dropped from 21% to 9.9%, in his first term.

            While the tax burden on the poor and working poor was reduced, and shifted to corporations and the uber wealthy, in his first term.

            It is very possible that by 2050 the % of oil used for transportation will be cut drastically. In this environment a gas tax as a means of raising revenue will be an idea in a history book describing the 1970's.

            .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:44:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree roger- We need a Green New Deal (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roger Fox, JesseCW, Chi

              something like 10-12 trillion spent over a decade on fixing infrastructure backlogs, putting in highspeed rail, seperating the greats lakes from the mississippi, restoring the bayous and everglades , as well as Chesapeake bay.ficing out roads  bridges power grid the list goes on. now when you consider that the corp of engineers estimates it will cost 3.6 trillion to get everything to speed, and then figure in investing for the future, figure 3 times that. for reference our budget is 3.6 trillion a year or 36 trillion over a decade. so basically wed be increasing that a third to 48 trillion over that 10 year period.

              •  Morrell - How do we pay for it? (0+ / 0-)

                Try something other than tax the rich.

                Propose a way to pay for it that could attract bi-partisan support because that is what would be needed to spend that kind of money.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:50:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  deficit spending like in the new deal. (0+ / 0-)

                  the national debt doesnt matter. its something we will never pay off anyway. the only time we did, under jackson it led to the panic of 1837. and that level of investment pays for itself bigtime, in the tens of  millions of jobs it creates, where people now have money to pay thier bills or put a roof over their heads. the roads that are falling apart, are now useable and bridges restored or replaced to handle the next 50-70 years. the increased funding for parks helps protect our open spaces and the planting of billions of trees, like in the dust bowl era, sucks in lots of co2. of course considering china's pollution  output will likely dwarf whatever efforts we put in place, but in truth there's very little we can do about that. china wants to have an environment where it is unsafe to even go outside, which it is, in many cities, then it will bear the price for that. it will befoul its own nest, focusing on our country and making sure we actually do things for the betterment of all is smething we cannot put a price on. how much money have we wasted ion the two stupid wars in iraq and afghamistan? trillions. and with interest rates being so low, and our reputation as being a very safe risk, would majke it pretty easy to get that level of money. we are not greece, or italy, or malta or spain.

                  •  The logic that we spent trillion on stupid wars (0+ / 0-)

                    means that we can spend trillions on more positive things, like infrastructure, escapes me. The fact that we have added trillions of debt on stupid wars means we have less ability to borrow for more positive spending. If interest rates tick up just a bit the annual amount of the cost of servicing the debt will start to impact the ability of the federal government to keep safety net programs at current levels. That's the danger of the $17 trillion debt, the interest cost becomes a big budget number.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 09:40:41 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  the national debt before ww2 was 40 billion, after (0+ / 0-)

                      it was 240 billion, it quintuple despite tax rates at confiscatory levels.  the us as stated adds to the debt just about every year, as long as the deficit is at a manageable level its not a problem. we can afford to carry levels of debts that would utterly cripple smaller countries, due to our size, wealth and varied economy. whats more every year we add new taxpayers, as our population increases. investing in our future is expensive and we have been living off of that which was built during 30s 40s and 50s. and we have seen little stomach from our so called leaders to write the checks needed to patch up this country.  taxes will have to go up on everybody, because they are currently too low to put in place anything like the interstate system that was put in during the 50s.the republicans as you might imagine will have to be dragged along kicking and screaming, but that's true on anything regarding progress, and not that type that sees historical buildings or open space destroyed in the name of it,

          •  I first wrote (an editorial) in 1981 that ... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, tari

            ...we should add 5 cents a year to the gas tax. And I repeated that every year as long as I had a newspaper forum to do so (into the early '90s.) The revenue I designated for renewable energy research, development and commercialization, and for moderating the impact of higher costs on low-income people. If this had been followed for the past three decades, as the tax rose from an extra 5 cents a gallon to an extra $1.60, TRILLIONS of dollars would have been raised (and gasoline would still be less than half as pricey as it is in Europe).

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:46:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  A Gas Tax is Regressive (14+ / 0-)

      An increase in the gas tax will exacerbate income and wealth inequality.

      Why not finance infrastructure spending via a graduated wealth tax?

      Too radical?

      So was the income tax, until a few brave pols decided to champion it.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:40:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  all sin taxes are regressive (0+ / 0-)

        They are still good things to have

        •  Not on yachts they aren't ;-) (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cordgrass, JesseCW

          "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

          by nosleep4u on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:31:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But the unintended consequences can hurt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elfling

            In the early 90s Congress passed a 10% luxury tax on yachts and it nearly killed the US domestic boat building industry. In certain regions yacht building is an important industry employing very skilled craftsman. It took several years but Congress finally repealed the luxury tax when it became clear that it was raising little revenue and costing lots of jobs.

            Here is an interesting PBS article on the topic:

            http://www.pbs.org/...

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:06:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm guessing the yacht (0+ / 0-)

              manufacturing "industry" is not a major player when thinking about the GDP, labor counts, or infrastructural well-being of our country as a whole, or even of those towns/cities in which they are located. I'm also guessing that even yacht workers don't want to spend all of their income repairing their own vehicles because all the roads and bridges have fallen to pieces.
              Unless one wants to further the "it's all about me, screw the rest of you all" mindset, then I'm afraid yachting manufacturers (and other such businesses) and their workers will have to join the rest of us in pain.
              Businesses don't suddenly die off when taxes go up, unless its customers no longer want their goods for some other reason. The tax is passed along, and in this particular case, to the very people who've prospered well beyond their proportion for decades now.
              Oh, yeah, that article? Almost 20 years old. I think some things have changed quite drastically since then . . .

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 01:38:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  When the luxury tax (0+ / 0-)

                was implemented in the early 90s yacht sales plummeted because yacht buyers moved their purchases to other countries, purchased used boats, or deferred purchases until the tax was repealed. I think the exact same thing would happen today. Many yacht buyers were offended that they had been singled out for an additional tax, and collectively stopped buying. The yacht makers couldn't just pass along the tax because demand plummeted. Given the experience in the early 90s, and the communities who lost jobs, I don't think Congress would consider it again for a considerable period.  

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 04:15:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  PVa - the gas tax is a fixed amount (6+ / 0-)

        and has not been raised for a very long time. With higher mileage cars, hybrids, and EVs, gasoline tax revenues are declining. Much of our infrastructure is auto and truck related so the gas tax is a good match.

        The consensus is that, like the 16th Amendment was required to implement a federal income tax, a constitutional amendment would be required to implement a federal wealth tax. The chance of a wealth tax making it through the amendment process seems slim.

        Several European countries have a wealth tax, 1-3% a year on a specific set of assets that are included. More European countries had wealth taxes and dropped them. Those countries found that the wealth tax resulted in asset flight, lower economic growth and surprisingly no long term increase in overall tax revenues.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:59:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What's more likely, the American people... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NearlyNormal, rbird, JesseCW, Chi

          supporting...

          (a) An increase in the regressive Gasoline Tax, which will exacerbate income and wealth inequality.

          or

          (b) A graduated tax on wealth, starting at 1% for households with net worth of 50M, to 8% annually for the likes of Buffet and Ellison.

          Constitutional amendment necessary?  So what.  An amendment was needed for the income tax.

          VClib, European countries don't suffer from the wealth and income inequality of the US.

          I can't understand how Kossacks can support Larry Ellison buying a taxpayer-subsidized Tesla (7,500k federal + 2,500 state), while asking the struggling family in East LA to pay a higher gas tax, a regressive gas tax which Ellison won't have to pay.

          Cognitive Dissonance.

          Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

          by PatriciaVa on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:07:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  think about how difficult it is to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FG

            get a constitutional amendment passed, Patricia.

            Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

            by terrypinder on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:24:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So, b/c it's difficult, we should resign ourselves (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW, Chi

              .....to increasing the tax burden on the working and middle-class?

              Isn't being a transformational President about championing transformational policies?

              Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

              by PatriciaVa on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:36:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it's not difficult (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PlinytheWelder

                Constitutional amendments get introduced every year. Tell me how far they go.

                When was the last amendment to actually make it to the constitution? And for trivia, how long did it take for that amendment to get ratified?

                I like the idea of a graduated wealth tax myself, but I can tell you flat out there's probably more support to raise the gas tax a single penny than there is for a graduated wealth tax. And honestly you're probably going to see a shitton more public/private partnerships and tolling before they even raise the gas tax a single penny.

                Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

                by terrypinder on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:42:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  The income tax amendment was passed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roger Fox

            on the premise that it would be a very small percentage tax, and only on the top 1% of income earners. However, those restrictions were not baked in the cake. I don't think we will ever have a wealth tax in the US because of the fear that its path would resemble the income tax, which started as a very small rate applied to a very small subset of income earners and over time became universal. I think that is why the people of Washington State rejected a state income tax, even though it would have initially applied to a small percentage of the population. Once taxes are established they become a slippery slope.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:35:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Wealth tax should be linked (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rbird

            to income. 1% of wealth sounds reasonable return on trust funds, if there is no earned income.

          •  These are the people who love "Soda Taxes" and (0+ / 0-)

            despise the notion of taxes on foofy coffee drinks.

            If the Quantcast date on site membership is correct, it's clear why.

            "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

            by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:28:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  European solutions to transportation funding (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, FG

          I think some of them would not be all that palatable to some people here. lots and lots of public/private partnerships, tolling, stuff like that. Most British rail operators are privatized although the infrastructure is gov't-owned. People in the field ARE talking about ways to fund this going forward beyond gas tax, but again, they aren't going to be popular ideas. VMT was one that was piloted in Portland, OR briefly. You essentially would pay based on the amount of miles you traveled, which would be tracked via a device in your car. I can say for certain that idea is probably dead in the water for obvious reasons although if I recall, the few who did the pilot liked it.

          But talk is meaningless without any legislative support, and frankly the issue is just not attractive enough to poilticians Democratic or Republican. A politician who sticks their neck out on infrastructure is a very rare politician indeed, and a bridge falling down simply won't do it. How much of a funding increase happened after I-35? Exactly.

          I don't care for Gov. Corbett and really hope he loses next fall, but this is the lone issue of his that I happen to agree with (and even he had to be convinced.) They apparently are going to vote on a funding increase for transportation within the next couple weeks. We'll see if it fails.

          Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

          by terrypinder on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:10:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  A gas tax makes sense (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, elfling

        Instead of complicated standards and incentives for energy efficiency , a gas tax is simple and fair. It addresses public road usage, pollution burden you impose all at the same time. Plus it keeps the margins of gasoline as tight as possible for the private players.

      •  Funny how the rise from Gas Corp..... (0+ / 0-)

        is not regressive, but taxes are.

        Any rise in taxes comes back to the people in the form of road repairs/ building or whatever each state divvies up their taxes that return as services.

        Any increase in the pump price of gas goes into an offshore account to never be seen again.

        No matter how prices go up, people become more frugal, use public transit, buy better mileage cars etc.

        My $.02....

        You can continue to serve with VoteVets.org

        by rickeagle on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:17:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I would increase the gas tax and then (0+ / 0-)

        also increase the tax exemption per individual on everyone's income tax and make it refundable for low income taxpayers a la EITC.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:25:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For those without kids, the EITC (0+ / 0-)

          cuts out at about 12k.  Those under 25 aren't eligible.

          Those really aren't the parameters of "poor".

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:31:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Keynes would deficit spend, & it worked (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tim DeLaney, JesseCW, Meteor Blades, tari

        GDP in 1934 11%, 1935 9%, 1936 14%, unemployment went down from 22% to 9.9%.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:47:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm thinking we need a transaction tax (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, bluezen, JesseCW, Meteor Blades

      on energy speculation as well.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:10:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the gasoline tax is terribly regressive. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BruceMcF

      Spending a couple trillion in newly created money on infrastructure will in no way be inflationary with 14% full time (U-6) unemployment.  Its not like an increase in infrastructure spending is a permanent Govt program.

      P.S. recessions are terrible times to increase the size of Govt IMHO.  Tax cuts are a much better way to increase aggregate demand during a slump.

      MMT = Reality

      "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

      by Auburn Parks on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:53:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We've been cutting taxes since Reagan (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        taxes, in truth need tio go up, significantly. think 66% top rate for billionaires. cutting taxes further, when taxes only accounted for 16.7% of GDP last year, is frankly, stupid. we've been told for 35 years how cutting taxes will be stimulative.  from supply siders to austria school economists to the bush administration. and frankly its a load of bull, the economic evidence doesn't support it. deficit spending is how fdr dealt with it, the us deficit spends practically every year, its a feature of government. Hoover cut the top tax rate to 28% then saw revenues dropping like a riock, so he raised taxes, to the point that the top rate was in the low 60s when he left office
         the optimum tax rate for revenue is around 66%.

      •  The subsidy to driving is also ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        .. regressive, since the number of non-drivers in the bottom 20% of the income ladder is much larger than the number of non-drivers in the top 80% of the income ladder.

        Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

        by BruceMcF on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 03:48:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why we can't have nice things (15+ / 0-)

    F-35

    Although to be fair it did drop its first guided bomb yesterday, only 7 years after its first flight.

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:21:03 AM PDT

  •  very expensive stupid pills (18+ / 0-)

    putting off renovation projects increases how much the project would cost generally. delays allow further deterioration of the infrastructure too, increasing the investment later needed. and there are all the social costs and lost opportunities from delaying needed projects too.

    for a congress so concerned about money, they are indeed very stupid.

    •  Like the Chrome dome in OKC (0+ / 0-)

      They dome envy finally culminated in Oklahoma putting a dome on our Capitol. They forgot to inspect the underlying structure first.

      Of course Frank Keating would not be able to take credit for fixing plumbing, electrical etc. The band around the rotunda crediting all the donors is impressive. I just hope they all paid up.

  •  T & R (10+ / 0-)

    with slight reservation.

    Only--only--because of this:

    Investing federal dollars in a program of rebuilding, upgrading and innovating infrastructure is something the current gridlock in Washington makes impossible.
    Washington isn't making enough noise about this desperate need.  Lip Service doesn't count.

    And I'm sorry, but this is one of those things that goes all the way to the top, too. The Bully Pulpit on this has been completely missing for far too long.

    The Mainstream Corporate Information Services need to be pushed back on, every single time they sidestep their responsibility to push on this as well. THEY are the biggest pushers of Stupid Pills and allow for recalcitrant, useless pols to hide behind them.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:24:38 AM PDT

  •  A tweet I saved (25+ / 0-)
    There are thousands of broken bridges in America but almost no cases of voter fraud. So which problem do Republicans absolutely have to FIX?
    — @citizensrock

    "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

    by BOHICA on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:25:19 AM PDT

  •  We need it and the economic stimulus helps! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe, LinSea, Eric Nelson

    It's unlikely, but I'd love to see a massive infrastructure bill for Obama leaves office. Highways, transit systems, ports, seismic and natural disaster retrofitting... There is a lot to be done, and a lot of people who could use the work!

  •  Student seen yesterday... (9+ / 0-)

    ...was wearing a sweatshirt that said:

    Genius is born.  Ignorance is chosen.
    •  It's less genius than common sense (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LinSea, justintime, BachFan, JesseCW

      which isn't all that common these days.

      If you've got a favorite shirt that's got a split seam, makes sense to get it fixed ASAP so the split doesn't grow with additional wear (mom-in-law gave us a sweater that needs reweaving, that's why I thought of the example). Same thing with roads and bridges that get a lot more wear and tear with daily use...and when you think of the impact on not just ordinary people but on commerce if a major arterial is closed, forcing lengthy detours, it should be a no-brainer. The extra jobs are just a bonus.

      Then again, we're talking about the GOP so "no-brainer" may be a redundancy.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:35:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Infrastructure also includes the parks (12+ / 0-)

    eliminate the backlog in the parks and forests and you can expand the system. in the depression we had the ccc, public works, works progress and the lot. bring those back. an investment of 20 billion a year in each of those areas would provide tremendous benefits. of course that's not going to happen with this congress.

    •  Something like 5 billion trees planted (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, Chi, tari, TexasTwister

      in the Recovery of the 1930's Depression. Numerous schools, Post Office and town hall buildings, even golf courses.

      20 billion? No, 5% of GDP would be 750 billion, spent on infrastructure would create about 18.7 million jobs ( 2.5 multiplier). The additional FICA would see Social Security solvent thru 2090.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:54:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well said Roger (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TexasTwister

        19 million jobs would get us to darn near full employment. not only would SS bet set for years but so would medicare and medicaid in time for at least part of the boomers retirement. and unlike the original new deal programs, the revived ones would be permanent
         so there would always be a public works, or a ccc, or a works progress to fill in the gaps of what private idustry wont do.

        •  Don't let them fool you. There is no such thing (0+ / 0-)

          as running out of money to pay SS.  All we have to do is choose to pay it.  Can we ever run out of defense spending?  Of course not.  FICA taxes are a terrible idea, they give good people like yourself the false impression that SS can run out of money because all the T-bonds in the trust fund are gone.  This is an insidious myth.  Even FDR admitted FICA was only for political reasons and had nothing to do with funding SS.

          MMT = Reality

          "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

          by Auburn Parks on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:57:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •   ss by definition cannot run out of money (0+ / 0-)

            since the government cannot. the states, yeah they can run out, due to balanced budget requirements. they cannot deficit spend and this are reliant on the feds for funds. part of the general welfare thing, you know.

            •  right, you got it Thats why I for one am in favor (0+ / 0-)

              of alleviating the stress of state and local Govt pensions and instead just increasing SS to be a national retirement program for every american.  I believe every American should have a financially secure retirement before they die (maybe 2X whatever the poverty level is, maybe more?) after contributing for decades to the wealth and standard of living of this nation.  I view that as the least we can do for our seniors.

              MMT = Reality

              "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

              by Auburn Parks on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 09:04:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. Now it's time to put solar panels on all (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TexasTwister

        those Post Offices.

        Instead, fuckers are busy trying to shut the whole system down.

        "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:33:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Our collective intelligence as a nation... (13+ / 0-)

    is weighted down by the %30 of us knuckledraggers.  Rick Scott, here in Florida, turned down a ton of money and jobs putting in a heavily needed high-speed-rail.  Many of our populace was pleased.  It seems like they want failure.  There is a large percentage that insist on buying  incandescent light-bulbs because they are bad for the environment.  I know they consider themselves conservative, but I wish they would be more conservative with their stupid.

    If debugging is the process of removing bugs, then programming must be the process of putting them in.

    by kharma on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:33:29 AM PDT

  •  as many of you may know (7+ / 0-)

    I work in the transportation side of this field.

    I sadly have to report that the answer to the question Meteor Blades asks at the end of this piece is, on the political side, "no."

    Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility- mperiousRex.

    by terrypinder on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:36:56 AM PDT

  •  Our school does not have air conditioning (15+ / 0-)

    The buildings have been well maintained for what they are, but they do not even have enough electricity to add air conditioning. This is in an area where temperatures can easily reach 100 F in the warm months.

    They do not even have enough electricity to add 25 plugged in laptops to each classroom.

    Being uncomfortably hot or cold absolutely affects student learning.

    When we let our schools go without adequate facilities, we're telling our kids we don't really value education, or learning, ... or them.

    Every school needs a broadband internet connection - just to comply with the new requirements coming out of the Department of Education. Where is the big initiative to get all this done by 2015, when all schools are supposed to be administering standardized tests via computer over the internet? Bloody crickets.

    And our school is relatively well off compared to many. The conditions at reservation schools are inexcusable. Let's put people to work fixing them, building them, upgrading them. Let's make them the best facilities in our communities.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:45:14 AM PDT

  •  We need more convincing arguments for INVESTING (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rickeagle, a2nite, Chi, TexasTwister

    . . in 21st century infrastructure,
    not just fixing our aging infrastructure,
    much of which is - or will soon become - obsolete.

    Civilization creates the future with its infrastructure.

    What's our vision?

    We need a plan.

    More smart pills, please!

    •  There are plenty of plans out there, the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE, Chi, TexasTwister

      politicians choose not to listen.  We are so engulfed in greed as a nation that it is choking us and preventing us from doing anything that won't see an immediate return.  

    •  investing is all about profit (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, Chi

      The people who have money don't want to spend it on anything that doesn't make them even more money back.  Unless you're willing to see the entire transportation infrastructure privatized and operated for profit, the rich will fight any investment in it tooth and nail.

      Of course, a privatized road network will be just as shitty, since it won't be profitable to maintain the roads anywhere there isn't lots of traffic to pay fees and/or rich people to pay a premium for excellent service.  Same with power, water, sewer, telecom, police and fire, parks and recreation, education, health care, etc.

      But that's OK since everyone who's not rich needs their face rubbed in it every moment of every day. /snark

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:09:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The interstate system (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tari

        should be turned over to the trucking industry. If they want passenger cars etc let them. Either way let them maintain the system, within a few years they will declare bankruptcy, both as operators and as owners of InterState Highways LLC.

    •  Totally agreed, which is why I include both... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      justintime, tari, Eric Nelson

      ...in the infrastructure pieces I have written over the past 10 years.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 03:21:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Absolutely. (8+ / 0-)

    Last week, I was talking to a guy who has worked on Chicago's moveable bridges for 35 years. He told me that many of the bridges have not been overhauled for decades. The city has been cobbling together fixes without undertaking substantial overhauls.

    The bridge over the Chicago River at Lake Shore Drive was last overhauled in 1989. There are all sorts of problems with it. Two years ago, a large section of the pedestrian walkway over the river fell into the river while the bridge was being lowered.

    This is dangerous stuff. We need desperately to invest in infrastructure in this country.

    Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

    by Bob Johnson on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:05:21 AM PDT

  •  Stop! Stop! Stop! (8+ / 0-)

    You're telling the truth.

    You are talking about actually putting people to work, strengthening the middle class, putting capital in the hands of ordinary people...

    Commie.

    Next you'll want to give them health care...

    Or food.

    How can you deny the one percent the right to squeeze every last dime from a dying paradigm?

    Besides, the Founding Fathers never intended that government was to serve actual people...

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:07:55 AM PDT

  •  I just visited Mitchell South Dakota..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BachFan, jfromga, JesseCW

    a few weeks ago to assist moving my parents out of their home and to Casper, Wyoming where there is more family.

    Amazing that a red state town like Mitchell has so much new construction.

    For low income families.

    Never saw that growing up there in the '60s and '70s.

    They can't even see what's right in front of them.

    Glad I left and got the folks out of there.

    Casper WY is not much better. We did a search for low income Sr. housing and there is a wait list of 900.
    that for a population of just under 56,000.

    The streets are crumbling and it just looks more and more like a bleak shit-hole of a town.

    One shining spot is they are finally getting a Costco to provide competition against the TWO Walmart Supercenters.

    You can continue to serve with VoteVets.org

    by rickeagle on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:10:56 AM PDT

    •  oil workers need housing too (0+ / 0-)

      You might be seeing what are basically dormitories for oil field workers.  There's lots of construction going on in that region; it was nowhere for so long, now there's big money to be made there.

      Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

      by Visceral on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:26:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know both Mitchell and Casper... (0+ / 0-)

      ...although it's been two decades since I was in either. I first saw it at age 13 when we drove up from far northeast Nebraska (Knox County) where my stepfather's parents lived.

      Is that new Mitchell growth tied at all the oil boom further north?

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 03:18:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mitchell has only grown about 1,500 people (0+ / 0-)

        in the last 20 years.  

        That includes the last 4-5 since oil took off far to the north.

        Dunno about Casper.  Only ever just drove through it.

        "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

        by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:42:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Congressional Democrats should run in 14 (7+ / 0-)

    on a program of bills they will pass to begin solving these infrastructure problems if they are given the majority.  Bills that will create those needed REAL jobs.

    Present this package to the voters, and give them something to be voting for.

    Kind of a no-brainer, eh?

    Its the Economy, Stupid.  Surprises me that more folks are not calling for this.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:19:16 AM PDT

    •  Off topic.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude, Eric Nelson

      Where is SMHR blog?

      You can continue to serve with VoteVets.org

      by rickeagle on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:24:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, they shouldn't (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      claude, Eric Nelson, JesseCW, Chi

      They should jump on the GOP and use whatever tools are at their disposal to get this done NOW!

      Voters are sick and tired of being told the problems will be fixed in the next election.  It never happens.  

      Both parties need to get it done now or they will be sent packing in 2014.

      If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:45:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  cant happen now, Betty, because the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson

        T bagger House wont let it.  Thats why voters need to see why the T pubblies should be thrown out and the new Congress be freed to get this stuff done.

        Of course we need it now.  How does that happen with the present House makeup?  Id love to see the Pres get this going by executive decree, but I dont know if he can by law.

        The Senate could pass a few good bills,  and then make as much political hay out of Republican obstruction as possible, just to add to the dialogue.

        I suspect the voters already get it that nothing can be done with Pubbies obstruction; Dems need to drive that point home by presenting the programs they would enact, like massive infrastructure repair,  if they were given the majority.  Make that point the issue of the whole campaign.

        don't always believe what you think

        by claude on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:27:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's why you make them kill it. Make them (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson, PhilJD

          Filibuster.  Make them deny a vote in the House.

          So that Democrats can go to the voters in 435 districts in 12 months saying

          "Our Party has a jobs program that would employ X million people for X years, would reduce poverty by X, would get X people off of medicaid and SNAP and section 8, wouldn't mean any new taxes for 95% of you, and which we WILL pass as written in a clean vote within 50 days."

          Voters will believe you're serious if you've already made the Republicans filibuster it for weeks, and if every sitting Democrat in the Senate already voted for Cloture.

          "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

          by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:47:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gawd. No matter how many times I say... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW, Eric Nelson, PhilJD

            ...THAT—candidates should tell people what they would do if they had the political clout to do it so those people would be convinced to vote in a manner that would provide the clout—it doesn't get heard. I hope you have better luck.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:57:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's not just telling people. We all laugh (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PhilJD, Calamity Jean

              at the dumb teabaggers voting to "overturn Obamacare" 85 times (or whatever the hell they're up to).

              But Republicans don't. They believe they'll really do it if they get control of the Senate and White House.

              You have to hold the vote, and fail, and show people who the obstacles to passage were.

              The only thing that could have helped Democrats in 2010 more than passing a 10 dollar an hour minimum wage would have been FAILING to pass it because not even one Republican would help break the filibuster.

              "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

              by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:25:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  tiered service is the goal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, JesseCW

    Infrastructure used by rich people - whether personally or by the businesses they own - will be maintained in excellent condition, preferably at taxpayer expense, while everyone else gets whatever crap they can scrape together the money for ... assuming they care, because it's good for the rich if the proles pride themselves on their ability to do without.

    Domestic politics is the continuation of civil war by other means.

    by Visceral on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:19:33 AM PDT

  •  Los Angeles has the worst infrastructure (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goodpractice, JesseCW, tari

    Road conditions in L.A. region judged worst in country

    The roads in Greater Los Angeles are the most deteriorated in the United States, costing drivers more than $800 a year, according to a national transportation analysis released Thursday.

    Los Angeles-Santa Ana-Long Beach ranks first among cities with more than 500,000 residents for the percentage of roads in poor condition and the annual cost to drivers, according to TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that studies transportation data and issues.

    About 64% of roads in Greater Los Angeles are in poor condition, and potholes and rough pavement cost Southern California drivers about $832 a year, TRIP estimates, including repairs, tires and faster depreciation.

    My city is becoming 3rd world fast.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:28:40 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, that's not counting the damage done (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      to commercial vehicles I'm betting.

      The 710 and 605 are nightmares.  I've driven in all 48 contiguous states and they're absolutely the worst interstates I've seen.  I've hit what amounts to ditches on those highways while driving a truck that have left me pissing blood.

      That's not hyperbole.

      Sad thing is, this report seems to be only about local roads.

      "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:52:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It makes NO sense whatsoever NOT to do this, (7+ / 0-)

    because we benefit as an entire nation, and people are put to work on constructive beneficial endeavors.  I am not being naive here.  If the "corporate powers that be" don't want to work on the infrastrucure, why not let the same damn companies that rule us and write our laws, and get all the contracts to rebuild (for example) Iraq's infrastructure, work on the domestic projects instead?  They will still get their contracts and their $$, and WE get the benefit.  Not to mention, they will draw from the local employee pool, rather than from the employee pool in Kirkuk.

    I am sure the money for the overseas shit is defense $$$ and therein is the rub, I guess.

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:32:17 AM PDT

  •  Let's not blame the voters (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, jfromga, JesseCW

    Average Americans would love to see these projects happen, too.  Just check the polls - job creation is still the #! priority for most Americans.

    The problem lies with our political leaders who refuse to budge on job creation via this kind of spending.

    Voters are frustrated with the politicians, that's why approval ratings for all politicians is abysmally low.  There's nothing voters can do until the next election, but both parties had better get cracking on this stuff or they'll be in for a big surprise.

    If cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits for low income seniors is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff, I'd hate to see what they do after they lose one.

    by Betty Pinson on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:43:30 AM PDT

  •  I would just as soon skip that step... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi

    ...and give the money out for free.  There's no time left to set up all that stuff even if gov't intended to do it.

    Just print ten trillion and hand it to all the people - none to the banks.  Fuck inflation - this is an emergency.

    Of course it won't happen.

    "Why no one's thought of that before.  There must be a good reason."

    "People will laugh at me as a Senator."

    "Everybody says inflation is a bigger risk.  Who am I to call them on that?"

    "It's just scary to do that."

    Warren/3-D Print of Warren in 2016!

    by dov12348 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 11:52:08 AM PDT

    •  It will destroy the economy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG, hmi

      Then after things settle down people will have even lower of a living standard and an even higher wealth disparity.

      But fantasies are fun I guess.

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:27:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So far you have an assertion and nothing else. (0+ / 0-)

        Perhaps it is not I with the fantasy.

        Warren/3-D Print of Warren in 2016!

        by dov12348 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:55:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thats his MO, I have never seen him make (0+ / 0-)

          one factual argument, just snide one-liners completely bereft of any context or factual support.

          MMT = Reality

          "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

          by Auburn Parks on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:00:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Spin it as a National Defense project and the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    Republicans will race to fund it.

  •  b-b-b-b-but, the Rapture's coming!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, TexasTwister

    why worry about the Country when I'm not gonna be here to enjoy the fruits of my Tax outlays?

    MB--got another bottle of those Stupid pills?  Mine are wearing off, and Reality is making my head hurt again....

    "Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny"---Robert Heinlein, writing as Lazarus long

    by justadood on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:50:12 PM PDT

  •  Absolutely right, but... (0+ / 0-)

    the stupid party controls a segment of our government, and the overwhelming majority of our "news" media, and they do not care about our country.

    Anger management class really pissed me off.

    by old mark on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 12:51:24 PM PDT

  •  This one sentence (5+ / 0-)

    is exactly why the United States should be borrowing for an infrastructure program, if for no other reason.

    But even more conventional economists point out that the government can borrow to make infrastructure investments at record low interest rates.
    Amazingly, we could help bring our crumbling infrastructure up to date, provide a terrific jobs program, and do much to help our revenue gaps by doing this one single thing.  It is a no brainer, but then the ideologues who would rather destroy this country than do what is right are the ones with no brains.  

    It is time for the Democrats to take control of the narrative.  I am sick and tired of the Dems pussy footing around the real issues in this country.  If the Dems would do what is right, they would have no problem winning elections.  And to heck with Fix the Debt which is a true non-issue.

    "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "It was a really naked declaration of imperialism." ~ Jeremy Scahill on Obama's speech to the UN

    by gulfgal98 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:31:10 PM PDT

    •  It's not just that. It's a glutted labor market. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite

      That means you can hire people who will work damned hard for very little, making every cheaply borrowed dollar go further.

      "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:53:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One idea for a permanent modern version... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Nelson, TexasTwister

        ...of the WPA is to provide standards for the private sector, including better compensation. I'd hate to see the public sector bidding down compensation. That's what Scott Walker & Cronies are driving at.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:01:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And if we hadn't already borrowed $17 trillion (0+ / 0-)

      then we might put ourselves, and our children, and our children's children, on the hook for more.

      But $17 trillion is a really big number. To start with, it exceeds current annual GDP by well over a trillion. It is simply not possible to keep increasing debt, letting interest payments increasingly erode the revenue available to fund capital expenditure.

  •  Great theme imo - "Cut out the middleman - banks" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Chi

    .. reminiscent of the powerful meme within the #OWS movement that so successfully brought high finance and all their shenanigans to the surface.

    Workers bailed Big banks out, why continue giving them first crack at the treasury?

    Time to "cut out the middleman" - It's working folks turn NOW

    But even more conventional economists point out that the government can borrow to make infrastructure investments at record low interest rates. Or, instead of pumping $85 billion a month into quantitative easing—which is, in part, an ongoing bailout of bankers in an attempt to get them to lend more—we should just spend that trillion dollars a year directly on infrastructure without the middleman.

     - emphasis added

    We've got a job crisis that republicans only talk pretty words to raise money from big banks to line their own campaign pockets:
    "You never let a serious crisis go to waste."

    Joblessness is today's crisis - let us Dems tell that story in terms of proven solutions. People will know which party means job creation and which party means protecting the banks.

    So this:

    ..gridlock in Washington... leaves millions of Americans of all colors out of work, or working at poorly paid jobs, whether they live on a reservation in a trailer or in an urban apartment. We can do better.
    ..works perfectly as the opening statement to cutting out the banks theme - imo - we can do better
  •  Only possible response: no sh*t. (0+ / 0-)

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 01:49:12 PM PDT

  •  It's self-inflicted wounds (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox, TJ, tari

    There is a wealthy element in this country that seems to want government to fail.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:40:43 PM PDT

  •  It's the stupid that's keeping consumer spending (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    up where it is! If people got smarter, the economy would crash!
    /snark

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 02:59:18 PM PDT

  •  One interesting thing re concrete (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW

    Recent news is that analysis of old Roman harbors has found out how their recipe for concrete is less CO2 intensive and lasts far longer. Sounds like a good thing to be trying now.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 03:14:56 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately, we don't all live in places close (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar

      to awesome volcanic sands on which their recipe relied.

      But where it would work, it would work well.

      "But the traitors will pretend / that it's gettin' near the end / when it's beginning" P. Ochs

      by JesseCW on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:54:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  BUMPED and Helloooooooooooo? (0+ / 0-)

    I've been ranting about infrastructure for oh, five years now?

    WHY is this rocket science for the retards in congress?

    and why are some progressives here and elsewhere totally dumbing down the definition of technology like high speed rail-- pretending we are heavily investing in real high speed rail?

    Nope. what we are doing is lame, nearly pointless rapid rail, like the rail planned between Chicago and St. Louis which (maybe) will reach 120 mph. this is horseshit. you can't remotely compare this to actual high speed rail in Japan, France and even China is kicking our ass.

    Now that we are nearly seven years into our lost decade, who here is dumb enough to believe the private sector is going to spur our economy above the pathetic GDP growth we are at now?? anyone?

    this is so totally absurd; there are no words left to describe how badly F'ed up our nation has become.

    "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

    by Superpole on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 04:43:41 PM PDT

    •  Just for the record, I wrote my first... (0+ / 0-)

      ...pieces on energy infrastructure here in September-October 2003.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:04:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  KUDOS, But (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        the issue is not who wrote about it first. E.F. Schumacher published "Small is Beautiful, A Study of Economics as if People Mattered" in 1973-- happened to be the same year as the Arab oil embargo. 1973 was forty years ago, and we're just now getting a few non fossil fuel vehicles on the road.

        The issue is we are decades behind where we need to be on infrastructure, and congress, including the democrats, have little to no plan-- NO plan, in spite of the fact a seriously funded twenty five year plan would obviously employ tens of thousands of people and in turn spur the private sector to finally invest some of the billions they are just stupidly sitting on now-- which would create more jobs.

        why is this rocket science for congress?

        "The 1% don't want SOLUTIONS; they've worked very hard the last four decades to get conditions the way they are now".

        by Superpole on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 05:43:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Uh... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean
          BUMPED and Helloooooooooooo? (0+ / 0-)
          I've been ranting about infrastructure for oh, five years now?
          It seems primacy was on your mind.

          I certainly agree we are decades behind on infrastructure, and leading the way in that myopia has been energy.

          We DID have an energy plan 35 when I began work at DOE's Solar Energy Research Institute, now the National Renewable Energy Lab. Not everything about Carter's energy plan was good, but he gave more budget support for renewables than anybody until Obama came along. The problem came in those years between.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 07:02:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  not gonna happen. at least for the forseeable (0+ / 0-)

    future. the r's aren't going to spend a nickle to invest in anything in the us until they've driven the wage floor down as far as it can go.

    hell, i can even see them reinstituting the old company store system, where workers were paid in chits that could only be redeemed at company owned & operated establishments -- & in the south, we had share cropping & convict labor which meant either no pay at all or workers paid "management" for the opportunity to stay alive. i know it sounds too crazy (even for them) but don't count them out! :)

    by engaging in their obstructionism, the r's have effectively brought the country to a halt -- which is exactly what they want. now they can watch it crumble & say, "see? this is what happens when the democrats are in charge."

  •  Car Trains (0+ / 0-)

    We should build car trains along current highway rights of way, between popular points A to B to C. At A, B, C put parking lots, preferably for transfer to other modes like passenger rail, airports, sea/river/lake ports. Instead of all those cars fighting with each other for lanes, inefficiently burning gas and bumping each other, give them all a predictable time along the path they travel, most of them every day. Especially across bridges and through cities.

    Cut traffic, time lost, collision injuries, wasted energy, extra emissions, asthma, noise, ugly scarred landscapes. Give travelers a break and a lot of convenience.

    Spend $100B a year until we're interconnected mostly by rail, with cars an option instead of necessity. Full employment as rail remains a major maintenance career.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 05:58:40 PM PDT

  •  Good Post Meteor. Thanks for the MMT mention (0+ / 0-)

    T-bonds are financial wealth for the private sector.  Anyone who says the so-called "national debt" is too high is equivalently saying that the private sector has too much financial wealth.  Does the SS trust fund have too much financial wealth?  Do the pensions funds that own a few trillion dollars worth of T-bonds have too much financial wealth? And on and on.

    MMT = Reality

    "The Earth is my country and Science my religion" Christiaan Huygens. Please join our Kos group "Money and Public Purpose". The gold standard ended on August 15, 1971, its time we start acting like it.

    by Auburn Parks on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:39:48 PM PDT

  •  Amen MB, .... Amen. (0+ / 0-)

    Living the austerity dream.

    by jwinIL14 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:41:06 PM PDT

  •  Smart grid is a no brainer. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, Meteor Blades

    Which probably explains why it hasn't been done.

    I'll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk. - Kasper Gutman

    by rasbobbo on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:42:13 PM PDT

  •  I take it that little blip upward is the stimulus. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 06:52:13 PM PDT

  •  Here's one example of serious need ASAP (0+ / 0-)

    When the Metro North New Haven Line went out of service, it had a huge impact. From NARP #835:

    "We must stop taking this vital infrastructure for granted and start investing in the future of the region and the nation," said the Amtrak chief. "We have an infrastructure that, while safe, is vulnerable to service disruptions at virtually any time and place."

    In talking about the failure, Boardman discussed the concept of “a single point of failure,” or a part of a system that, when it fails, stops the entire system from operating.

    With much of the infrastructure dating to the beginning of the 20th century, the corridor has many such points, and is becoming more fragile by the day.  Amtrak needs roughly $782 million per year between now and 2026 to bring the NEC’s infrastructure to state of good repair—which does not even address the additional capacity that is sorely needed.  It has received less than half of this from Congress in recent years.

    emphasis added

    The word applied to this kind of shortfall is decapitalization.  Another way of putting it, is running something into the ground. Starvation. Neglect. Penny wise and pound foolish. It doesn't happen overnight, but if you let it run long enough, you eventually find yourself in a situation where you can no longer patch things together fast enough to keep up.

    It's the equivalent of strip-mining the heritage of infrastructure we built in the previous century. And the people profiting from it now are high-fiving each other as they cry "IBG-YBG" (I'll Be Gone, You'll Be Gone.) They'll have made their profits and departed the scene - though probably not by rail…

    And they know damn well what they're doing - it runs all through Atlas Shrugged as Taggert Transcontinental Railroad is bled dry by the looters. The irony is palpable.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:14:29 PM PDT

  •  Some observations about infrastructure (0+ / 0-)

    1. Rahm Emanuel is leading the nation in divestment of education and mental health infrastructure.  And he is not using a crisis to do it.  Poster boy for what not to do.

    2. Education and health care are critical parts of infrastructure that lower the costs of economic activity but because they are not bricks-and-mortar projects they are often overlooked.

    3. The most critical infrastructure to deal with are railroads and flood control facilities.   Roads and bridges, the traditional mainstays require maintenance but dealing with global climate change requires movement of people and freight to railways and transit, which could dramatically reduce congestion as well.

    4. The new infrastructure that we should demand is secure, private, internet that actually links to knowledge without high fees.  It's time to implement Tim Berners-Lee's vision.  IMO the appropriate institutions to be responsible for the the new intenet infrastructure is libraries.   Then we can leave the commercial internet to corporations and the NSA, who in less than ten years have completely destroyed the ability to find knowledge; search works worse today than it did a decade ago before search-engine optimization became a buzzword.   And the new internet of libraries needs to be global.

    5. Good infrastructure investments create future wealth, which returns revenue to pay off bonds--if the government bodies don't squander it away in tax cuts.

    6. Return-on-investment analysis as a way of justifying infrastructure in plain-out bullshit.  There isn't the accounting infrastructure in place for accurately measuring the costs and benefits; consequently, the estimates are fudged to do whatever the folks asking for the ROI want in the way of biasing the analysis.  And the lack of accounting infrastructure and methodology means that no one every has to follow up and prove that the ROI estimate was true or false.   If an infrastructure project is worth doing, it is generally obvious; do it.  If it is not, it will have opposition for reasons other than financial return.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:30:27 PM PDT

  •  Stupid Pills .... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ImpeachKingBushII

    manufactured by Abbott and Costello Laboratories.


    Take me somewhere nice. Reality doesn't play fair. - 16382

    by glb3 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:33:26 PM PDT

  •  We had the Money (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ImpeachKingBushII, a2nite

    to Fix a lot of those things.

    Unfortunately, It was all WASTED on two stupid,
    Worthless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    We were "Saved" from imaginary "Terrorists" so that
    We can Die when our crumbling infrastructure lands
    on our collective Heads.

    If that ever happens to one of the Wealthy 1 Percent,
    the problem might actually get the attention it deserves.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 07:51:25 PM PDT

  •  get off the stupid pills and... (0+ / 0-)

    ...take two of these until the stupid wears off and call me in the morning:

     photo 11212b147ZZZZZZZZZ89t76c9e589c5a112.jpg

    "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

    by ImpeachKingBushII on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 08:03:22 PM PDT

  •  www.steelinterstate.org - fast, sustainable tranpo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Steel Interstate passengers & freight trains move on renewable electric energy instead of fossil fuel, enjoying order of magnitude design efficiency advantages over trucks and cars.

    See for yourself.

  •  Sometimes I think we're too screwed to imagine (0+ / 0-)

    Seems like we never prioritize anything that really matters.  I keep hoping we will accept, as a nation, what we need to do, and it never happens.

    A mind is a terrible thing to close.

    by alliwant on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 10:47:38 PM PDT

  •  Myopia rules, sadly. (0+ / 0-)

    Besides, if Congress voted to spend on, you know, things that cost money, that could cut into the corporate welfare programs and the bloated military budget.  I wonder how much fed tax Dyncorp and Halliburton pay?

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 06:59:28 AM PDT

  •  Why do the big capitalists oppose this? (0+ / 0-)

    However the plans must be vast in vision or forget it.  No bandaides, real vision only allowed.

  •  Hey do you have one of these? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agoldnyc, Calamity Jean

    Wooden utility poles in your front or back yard that appear to be pretty rickety?

    Been there for about fifty years? Probably past it's due date?

    So how about some jobs to fix that problem so maybe when the next storm comes rolling into your neck of the woods doesn't come crashing down into your neighborhoods.

  •  needed: $3.6T (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/

    Even if we don't have it, we should do what we can.

    "Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place." -- Mandela

    by agoldnyc on Sat Nov 02, 2013 at 05:38:28 PM PDT

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