Stimulus Checks: Building A Bridge To Nowhere? genre: Econ-Recon & Polispeak

BridgeToNowhere.jpg

If you want to understand the degree to which politicians make shortsighted decisions intended to win favor with the voters at home, look no further than the passage of the $168 billion dollar economic stimulus package.

If you want to see how ill-advised such decisions may be, take a moment to look at a new report by Pew Research. The report grades each of the states on the management and maintenance of their infrastructure...and the results aren't encouraging.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Almost half of the states in the United States are falling behind in their infrastructure maintenance and fiscal systems, according to a report released Monday by the Pew Center on the States and Governing Magazine.

The groups gave 23 states grades for infrastructure that were below the national average in their study called "Grading the States." Using a scale similar to those found in U.S. schools, where an A is excellent and an F failure, they decided 23 states had grades below C+.

In the money category, which encompassed budget balancing, contracting, and other fiscal categories, 20 states received C+ and below, while 19 states garnered grades of B and above. The average among 50 states was B-.

It's clear that our infrastructure has been in need of a capital infusion for a number of years. It's also clear that our economy has been kept afloat by a housing bubble driven by artificially low interest rates rather than by sustainable economic growth that creates a stable increase in jobs and the kind of expansion that is cumulative in nature.

Politicians and voters have become accustomed to stop gap measures designed to dispel consumer doubt and forestall recessionary pressures. Unfortunately, while such measures may provide a temporary economic boost, they also promote a boom and bust mindset and the hills and valleys that accompany it.

In truth, it's a form of bait and switch. Politicians choose to offer voters a few hundred dollars, and thus the ability to buy a new television set, rather than making the difficult decisions to enact measures that would provide long term stability. In our consumption is king construct, we've adopted the pathology that comes with the need for instant gratification.

The political calculations that flow from our short election cycles simply promote more of the same. We're not only raiding the cookie jar; our elected officials are handing out cookies without considering the need to manage and maintain the bakery.

Prior to the millennium, numerous politicians mouthed the metaphor of building a bridge to the 21st century. As it turns out, we not only refuse to fund the bridges needed to take us there, we've taken a shine to building bridges to nowhere.

I struggle to find the silver lining in rolling out billions of dollars in refund checks while the wheels are falling off the wagon. Then again, perhaps our politicians want to be sure we can watch the news coverage of the next bridge collapse...on our shiny new high definition televisions.

Comments

1 On March 3, 2008 at 8:44 PM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

As always Daniel, you are bang on in your assessment. I read about this stimulus package with total disbelief-- $100 billion for the populace, amounting to about $300 each. And 50 billion in corporate welfare. All this with a $9 ttrillion dollar deficit. The democrats, who had the opportunity to say no, this is fiscal madness, corporate welfare, and will do nothing to solve our problems-- well, they said nothing.

Pretty sad, and I think an unfortunate indicator that the D's and the R's are no more concerned about our country than a peasant in china might be.

but look on the bright side. I can's marry by boyfriend in 26 states. AT LEAST WE ARE SAFE FROM THAT!!!!

Thought Theater at Blogged

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» Stimulus Checks: Building A Bridge To Nowhere? from www.buzzflash.net
While Americans await their economic stimulus checks, the clock is ticking on a tattered infrastructure. Prior to the millennium, a number of politicians talked about building a bridge to the 21st. century. Instead, they appropriate shortsighted stimul... [Read More]

Tracked on March 3, 2008 5:07 PM


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