Government needs to focus on infrastructure

June 14, 2015
Jim Griffin

Jim Griffin

OPINION By JIM GRIFFIN

For decades now, money for infrastructure repairs and re-building and for a wide variety of public services has been steadily slashed and eroded.

The average American bridge is about 50 years old with many having already collapsed over the years. Meanwhile, the basic railroad system has seen its budget drastically cut. The results of that shallow and predatory theft are horrific accidents like oil tank car trains derailing all over the country and the Amtrak passenger train disaster just weeks ago in Philadelphia.

Everywhere, roads and highways crumble to dust. And where are private industry plans for saving our infrastructure? Isn’t the “private sector” supposed to be the savior over and above those horrid levels of government?

On top of all this, the U.S. Post Office, one of the most clearly called for entities created explicitly in the U.S. Constitution, with the obvious idea of public funding, was forced decades ago to be totally “self-sufficient” and self-funding, but is at the same time not allowed to do a variety of things that could help to salvage it. Then, to add insult to injury, Congress, in its infinite “wisdom”, mandated the Post Office to pay 75 years in advance on its pension obligations, an insane requirement found nowhere else in the public or private sectors.

This is an obvious and conscious attempt to bankrupt the Postal Service and to set it up for privatization. The whole idea that the Postal Service should no longer get public funding was based on a phony comparison with corporations like Fed Ex and UPS, the idea being that they get no public money and so it’s “unfair competition” that the U.S. Post Office should. The lie of that is exposed when we realize that companies like Fed EX and UPS do not do door to door, direct-by-hand mail delivery to every household in America six days a week.

Meanwhile, the Social Security Trust Fund has been raided continually by politicians in order to pay for various things, largely imperial wars of plunder and domination.

Some services are naturally social, public in nature, and of necessity must be subsidized with public money. They cannot be real public services and be privatized entities seeking profit at the same time because, generally, necessary public services are not readily profitable if they are to also be affordable and fully available to consumers.

The same is true for basic infrastructure. “How can we possibly afford it all”, will scream ignorant and Fox News oriented persons? How about fewer wars and tax cuts for billionaires? How about ending corporate welfare and “too big to fail” mindsets?

How about ending the corporate ownership of politicians and limitless cash in election campaigns? Just some thoughts. And you know what, stop stealing from the Social Security Trust Fund and replace all the money used for non-Social Security things over the decades — all of it. The Social Security fund “crisis” exists only because politicians are smarmy thieves.

Jim Griffin has lived in San Luis Obispo for seven years.


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shelworth

Hey, also how about the 1-2 billion Baltimore got from the Feds? Instead of burning cash for no return at all how about fixing some stuff?


shelworth

Well for starters we could take all the money that’s going to the high speed rail and use that for “infrastructure”. And maybe we could us the gas tax for roads instead of dumping into the general fund, ditto with Social Security, might not that help?


laftch

Barry, Hillary, Nancy, and Diane will fix every thing for us.


LameCommenter

You left out Jerry B. who suddenly is reportedly slated to use “revenue assumptions” to overspend MORE money we don’t have yet, and can’t firmly depend upon —- your madcap Democratic lock step State Legislature is in the news………..


This just in from evening, and now morning, KSBY-TV verbatim, “California lawmakers are taking up a nearly $ 120 billion dollar spending plan that sends EVEN more money to public schools and adopts a new tax credit for the working poor. The Legislators scheduled a budget vote tomorrow, however, negotiations will continue because Governor Jerry Brown hasn’t signed off on that plan. He remains concerned about using higher revenue assumptions to boost social programs for the poor.” – KSBY DTV 6.1 06/15/2015 morning news broadcast ….transcribed under claim of fair use quotation thank goodness for DVR that allows accurate transcription).


Bottom line, Jerry will settle (and sign soon) at, say, about the $ 105,000,000,000 billions with a B, level and at least NONE of that will go to bridges and infrastructure, all of it lost down the rathole of overfunded/poorly-effective public schooling and wealth transfer give-aways to what he will term “the working poor”.


There is no end to increased spending in salaries and give-aways, be it a reported 11 new positions in SLO city government and a handful more going full time from temporary, or at the state level.


Ted Slanders

LameCommenter,


Instead of taking a “neener, neener, neener” position, now address Mr. Griffin’s propositions of what is wrong in the entire United States, and how to fix it.


ironyman2000

Bottom line is that there are services that are best provided by government,

big business is not made up of people concerned about people and Socialism is not an

evil concept.


moderator

“Society is right nine times out of ten respectability is enough to carry one along.”


r0y

Yes, somehow the people hired in big government are WAY DIFFERENT from the people hired in big business. Brilliant!


ToHellinaHandBasket

Jim, Jim, Jim…. Poor man you are.


I was going to retort until I read mbbizpro’s very well stated retort.


Here’s what I will say. ALL Politician’s are CORRUPT to the CORE. They may not start out that way, but they become that way. Everytime I read that they want to raise taxes for infrastructure improvements, I laugh. Yeah…Right!


They tell us that but then that money goes to fund some assinine politician’s pet project. Probably going to those who don’t want to work or more to public education which does nothing but pump out more sheep like you.


Maybe you oughta watch Fox News more often sir. That’s where the truth is.


Ted Slanders

ToHellinaHandBasket,


Since the alumni of Faux News know everything since this is where the truth lies, then tell us, what is their solution to Mr. Griffin’s well thought out propositions?


mbbizpro

The assumption that these are “well thought out propostions” is flawed.


Ted Slanders

mbbizpro,


Give me some examples of what you proposed. Thanks.


ToHellinaHandBasket

Oh come now Ted….


You already know the answer to your query.


That is, if you are a “True” Christian.


Ted Slanders

ToHellinaHandBasket,,


Your silence speaks volumes in not being able to answer the alleged “truth” that Faux News supplies relative to the story at hand.


It’s just too easy for the Republicans to sit on the sidelines and chastise the game players, when in turn, they have absolutely no game of their own.


“Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” (Proverbs 17:28)


Pelican1

But, but…if government was to focus on infrastructure, they would surely lose focus of their primary goal….that of ensuring high salaries, extensive benefits and unyielding pensions for themselves.


65buick

Rant.


r0y

True, but I do like a good rant! Unfortunately, this one is not that good.


Socialist rants are more like whines… and not fine whines, either.


FairAndBalanced

Gee, this seems like a pretty hot topic – where are all the commenters?


I don’t know…whose responsibility is it to elect officials to appoint people to run these government offices? Have there never been any corporate misdeeds that have royally screwed the public out of its money?


Where are all those private companies willing to jump in and re-build a bridge that is crumbling? Anyone seen any offers?


Has there been a “war” fund established so that there is money to pay for them when they pop up?


LameCommenter

Well, I’m not commenting because it’s too liberal, scattered and far afield to cogently respond to in under 500 words, and nobody wants to hear 500 words from LC.


Just assume Griffin is a two time Obama voter, and let it go at that.


moderator

just as simple as that


FairAndBalanced

Gee Lame, I don’t buy that as an excuse. Go ahead. Do your 500 words, I’ll be happy to read and respond.


What I’d most like to hear is the way that you would attack this problem of falling down bridges and a train networks worthy of a third world country. How would you want to fix this? It’s not like climate change or anything liberal like that.


LameCommenter

OK, as you wish, we will target bridge and rail infrastructure repair funding. The billions spent on welfare, WIC, giveaways like Earned Income Credit, education for those here illegally and their children, would make solid gold bridges and rails if gold weren’t so ductile and malleable.


No more free treatment at an ER; change the federal law that requires hospitals to stabilize all without respect to payment, births just over the border, gads I’m tired of parroting the list of giveaways to those willing to profiteer from them.


With over half people not paying taxes, you cannot argue that this country is awash in waste, fraud, and wealth transfer. Defend it if you wish, somebody posted that Jesus would give away everything, but those of us who have PUSHED the cart for all our lives are paying/have paid for the tens of millions who are riding free in the cart. This makes for an unhealthy society.


Here’s a further exercise for you: copy and paste the Griffin work into triple space line format, and write in the predictable conservative answers to his work. We all know them regardless of side we take.


It’s all in how you view the world, and Mr. Griffin just views the world through Obama Woodrow Wilson Marx (insert extreme liberal here) glasses, wouldn’t you say.


FairAndBalanced

A non-answer Lame. You could do better.


Waste in government? Sure. There is waste in private companies too. I guess that is just the human condition, a work in progress.


Some people are on Social Security so low that they don’t make enough to pay taxes. I remember my first job was such s#it pay I didn’t need to pay taxes. Veterans shot up and now on disability – do they pay taxes? Personally, I think that they paid quite enough. So just remember, those are people that don’t pay taxes but are still citizens who deserve consideration – and trains safe enough to ride on and bridges that don’t fall down when they cross them on that bus.


I guess it is how we view society – are we all in this together as a people or are we, each of us, alone. I guess you think people who are not able to work should just be left to starve. Let them die on the street if they don’t have their insurance papers in line. Maybe the tables will turn someday for you. You can see what it feels like on the other side. See if you want to be that island looking to no one for help because you don’t believe in that sort of thing. You just sound uncharitable and bitter. Your choice.


mbbizpro

Is it possible that there is plenty of $ for infrastructure and the problem is poor financial management? How much money is collected from the sale of a gallon of gas for Federal Taxes? (18.4 cents on gas and 24.4 on diesel.) Nationally, the states add an additional 30 cents (approximately) on the average. That means that government is collecting more on a gallon of gas than the profit made at any level. (exploration, extraction, processing, delivery, retail) when you consider that a gallon of gas sells for somewhere around the $3.20 mark nationally. Additionally, the state fees increase based on the sale price. The companies involved in the process listed above also pay state, local and federal taxes on profits. Next, let’s address individual taxes. The top 20% of American wage earners pay 84% of all taxes. How much is enough? As far as the post office, why should it not have to compete with private industry? Why should tax payers subsidize the postal service when it cannot attract enough profitable business to be solvent? Do you continue with a broken model because it was created to be funded by tax payers? Let’s talk about Social Security. How much waste, fraud and abuse is there in the system? How much is paid to “disabled” drug users and alcoholics? Have you done any research on the increase of those collecting benefits since the economic downturn because they could not find jobs and found doctors to find them disabled?