I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Countdown to the Blame Game II

As Jazz reported this morning the I35 Bridge collapse blame game has begun. ABC's blog, Political Radar, has some examples. The infrastructure of the United States is collapsing and that is much more likely to bring the country down than an attack from al-Qaeda. There is some blame but it's not where anyone is looking. The infrastructure has been deteriorating for 30 years or more. The reason is not the invasion and occupation of Iraq or even George W. Bush. It really started in 1978 - remember proposition 13 in California? It was the grand daddy of the many "no more taxes" initiatives that have made it next to impossible for states and municipalities to even keep up with inflation. In many if not most states the gas tax collected is the same dollar amount it was when gasoline was 35 cents a gallon. As much as 25% of the money allocated by congress for roads goes unspent because the states can't come up with the matching funds. As population has grown the states have been forced to spend what money they have to build new roads with little left over to fix existing roads or bridges. Digby gets it as she usually does.
Governments all over the country have been robbing Peter to pay Paul, shifting money to immediate needs like health care and child welfare and hoping against hope that the roads and bridges and buildings built during the new deal era held up. "No New Taxes" has been the rallying cry for decades now, but nobody ever said how we were supposed to pay for the things we all take for granted. And, of course,when things like this happen, the wingers blame the government and everyone decries taxes even more.

I have to wonder if any Republicans were on that bridge last night. If there were, they must have realized that sometimes we really are all in it together.
The assorted spawn of prop 13 have made it next to impossible to increase taxes even when a majority wants to by requiring super majorities to raise taxes. In my own state of Oregon it's easier for the legislature to amend the constitution than raise taxes. The goal of Grover Norquist and his band of crusaders was to strangle the government. They have been successful on the state and local level. The result - bridges that fall down and people dying.

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