Thursday, August 09, 2007

Our Crumbling Infrastructure

The collapse of the bridge last week that connected the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul should be taken as an omen of sorts; a sign of things to come. The fact of the matter is that the infrastructure of the United States of America is coming apart. This is a direct result of the so-called Reagan Revolution and the sermon that the right wing has been preaching all these years: that taxes are inherently evil (or to put it more succinctly) taxing the rich is inherently evil. The theory was that if those who controlled the bulk of this country's wealth were just left alone and allowed to make their fortunes without being bothered by that nasty ol' Tax Man, the money would eventually "trickle down" to the rest of us. Think about that the next time you're taking Fido for his morning walk. It's sort of the same principle.

That was the mantra of a feeble minded, failed "B" movie actor named Ronald Reagan and the army of neanderthal morons he brought with him to Washington DC in the late winter of 1981. Government, they told us, wasn't the solution. Government was the problem! It was a stupid argument to begin with. To put it simply, the theory of Trickle Down Economics is unworkable. During his battle against the Gipper during the 1980 primaries, George Bush the elder, in a rare moment of honesty (maybe his only moment of honesty) labeled the entire scam, "Voodoo Economics". That's a little closer to the truth. As has been proven time and again, the uber rich are not going to share the wealth - they're simply going to hoard it. It has virtually nothing to do with economic theory and everything to do with human nature: The rich tend to be greedy. That's why they're rich! HELLO??
As is becoming clearer every day, this imbalance in our corrupt system of taxation is starting to have a noticeable effect on this country's infrastructure. And the Supreme Court's selection of George W. Bush as president seven and a half years ago has only compounded the problem. For the first time in world history, a leader has actually lowered taxes during a time of war. As if that wasn't bad enough, at least fifteen billion in taxpayer dollars that had been earmarked to fund that war has gone unaccounted for - looted. Now consider this question: Who the hell do you think has the clout to steal fifteen billion dollars? Think about it..
The effect of the Bush Mob's criminal mismanagement of the American economy became obvious two years ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As the city of New Orleans drowned, the government, it seemed, became paralyzed. It wasn't simply the fact that this administration was too incompetent to deal effectively with the catastrophe, the sad truth is that much of the money that should have dealt with the disaster just wasn't there. It had been diverted to fund the obscene, illegal war in Iraq that the United States is destined to lose. It has also been wasted on a bloated Military Industrial Complex that is quickly turning this planet into a powder keg.
In an excellent piece that appeared this week on the website,, Air America Radio host, Thom Hartmann (what's with the "h", Thom?) made the following disturbing observation:**********
Since Bush has been president:
* over 5 million people have slipped into poverty;
* nearly 7 million Americans have lost their health insurance;
* median household income has gone down by nearly $1300;
* three million manufacturing jobs have been lost;
* three million American workers have lost their pensions;
* home foreclosures are now the highest on record;
* the personal savings rate is below zero [emphasis added] - which hasn't happened since the great depression;
* the real earnings of college graduates has gone down by about 5% in the last few years;
* entry level wages for male and female high school graduates have fallen by over 3%;
* wages and salaries are now at the lowest share of the GDP since 1929
Those are the facts, people - not the usual, cooked up propaganda you're accustomed to getting from the FOX Noise machine and Rupert Murdoch's corporate media empire. (Please read "The Rant" by Tom Degan instead. It'll probably do ya some good!) I think it should be mentioned that at three different times in our nation's history, the plutocracy has seized control of all three branches of the government and in every single instance they ran this country into the dirt. How many times are we going to repeat that mistake before we finally learn a lesson that should have been learned almost a century and a half ago? Conservative philosophy of governance does not work. Period! It never has and it never will. It might be a fine and dandy little scheme for the richest two or three percent, but everyone else winds up getting the shaft - BIG TIME!
This country is broken and desperately needs to be fixed. The last repairman to come our way was a son of privilege from Hyde Park, NY (right across the river from where I now sit) named Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Although the wealthy of his day referred to him as "a traitor to his class" or "That man in the White House", he and his administration (very few of whom were mere political appointees) put together a system of social safety nets that worked beautifully for almost fifty years - that is until a dingbat, cowboy wannabe named Ronald Reagan began to dismantle them twenty-six years ago. No doubt about it: The New Deal needs to be resuscitated NOW.
What the far right half wits in this country have never been able to figure out is the laughably obvious and simple fact that it is taxation that makes for a functioning, orderly society in harmony with itself. Take Norway, for example, a country where the crime rate is barely perceptible: Sure they are probably the most taxed people on the planet Earth - but do you want to know something? - They seem to be the happiest people on the planet. (True, they don't smile a lot but that's just a cultural thing - you wouldn't understand). From cradle to the grave, their basic social needs are provided for by the government - education (including college), medical, retirement - and their Gross National Product isn't even a fifth of what ours is! The Norwegians (God bless the little darlin's) figured out a long time ago that only when a people are secure, are they truly at peace with themselves.
Are we a nation at peace with ourselves? It really is a silly question when you think about it, isn't it?
Pray for peace.
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Special word of thanks to John D'Andrea, AKA: Johnny Bongo, for sending me the link to the Thom Hartmann piece. Dude! You Rock!


At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Charles Moore said...

Hi Tom,

You are right on target as usual. The frightening thing about this situation is that eventually these chickens will come home to roost and the United States will be so broke that we will be below a third world country.

It is about time that America began studying WWII and Germany under Hitler and the Nazis. It would be an eye opening account of where we are heading for many people.

At 11:21 PM, Blogger TheRambleman said...

Another good one, Tom! Unfortunately, I think you hit the nail on the head. I really hope that once the depression is over, it'll be a better place for my kids to live, so I hope it doesn't take too long. It's hard to raise kids with hope in these times, but the times are as they are.

At 12:53 AM, Anonymous fearless flower said...

Hi Tom,

Yes, we've been trickled down upon for enough years now to see once and for all that it does not work, at least for those of us who are not wealthy.

I feel like no one is on my side anymore, not my legislators, not my bank and certainly not my credit card company. There may be certain individuals from these institutions from the lower levels who are sympathetic and even think they may be doing some good. But basically the government, the banks, the credit card companies and investment companies are in bed together to screw us all as much as they can.

I'm about ready to take my money out of my bank, liquidate the little I have in investments and put it all in a hole in the ground!
American Express is STILL taking money out of my bank account every month after I cancelled my account with them months ago. And my Bank lets them, going against my express instructions to keep the bloodsucking bastards out of my account!

The look on the banker's face when I walk in and take all my money out will be worth whatever inconvenience it might cause me.
My money will be safer in a hole in the ground than in that bank. And if it's true about less than zero interest rates, I'll come out ahead there. If they cry and beg me not to take my money away, I might say this; "OK, I'll keep my money in your bank. Just count it out in large bills and I'll rent a safe deposit box in your vault and we'll keep it there." I don't have to write checks; there's always the post office and money orders, right?

Some businesses are going bankless; if they can do it, so can I. I've been reading pieces from, a very complementary site to your Rant, Tom. It is possible to drop out of this crummy system and create a viable local economy that can sustain a small group of businesses and families. I'm ready to do it. The way the economy is going, I've got nothing to lose by trying something different.

A conservative friend told me once his definition of liberals is three words "Gimme, gimme, gimmie!" People like him don't realize that it's now our government that is saying "Gimmie!" to us and taking and wasting a million times more money than was ever spent on entitlements to the needy members of this society. I have to ask him if he thinks its the welfare element that is to blame for the bridge collapsing in the twin cities, or if he would like to model his business after the way the federal government handles our money.

Time to get creative and figure out ways to function outside the system. I've done it with the medical establishment; now it's time to do it with the economy.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger waring_abbott said...

Tom, excellent comments. I heard you (rant) at the impeachment meeting this past Tuesday in Warwick. They liked you....
I'm relatively new to Orange County (six years) and wasn't aware they permitted people such as yourself to even live here, let alone rant. As for my wife and myself, we are undercover. We've been ranting to no effect, but the Warwick town Supervisor did tell me I should consider moving back to the city, so I must be making progress.

Is there something special in the water in Orange County? Never saw so many Republicans (Happy Pill folks) as in these parts!

Keep up the good work, although if the predictions at that meeting are true, you may be 'rounded up' next year when martial law goes into effect.

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Gee Tom:
The international rumblings about the US economy are dire. On the verge of collapse - with China calling the shots.
It is hard to predict how the starving masses will behave. Will there be another coup d'etat a la Ronnie? Martial law for sure. And of course the draft.
Where on earth is your country? What you have now is virtually heartfelt sympathy. Keep ranting.

At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Wima Lamb said...

Dear Tom, The infrastructure has been in the tank in the Kansas City area for many years now with pieces of bridges on I 35 falling off and killing drivers who were unlucky enough to be passing below.
We owe many if not most of our country's ills to dear Ronny and his tax-cutting mania. I'm sure you all remember how air travel went to hell when Ronnie fired all the air traffic controllers.
The devastating wildfires killng so many people and costing billions in property damage and irreperapable damage to the environment should also be engraved on Ronnie's tombstone.
Ronnie fired all the rangers who were on guard 24 hours a day and delayed getting firefighters on the scene allowing the fires to be out of control before they were reported.
Also he and King George I sold all our timber to Japan leaving clear-cut land not properly replaced. This allowed soil erosion and increased flood damage.
Charles Moore I agree we should study Hitler and the Nazis, Newtie took his Revolution straight out of the pages of Mein Kampf, added some quirks of his own and Bush-Cheney have carried to an extreme that Goebbels would envy

At 6:28 AM, Blogger racetoinfinity said...

Good post.

And if you want a few names as to who was behind the anti-government Reagan reaction, think Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Richard Mellon Scaife....

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can these people talk about lowering taxes and embezzle the Social Security and Medicare surpluses at the same time. Who decided those were pay as you go programs? The embezzlers did. We have a failed democracy not because of the system, but because of the people. Jesus said that we would be known by our works. When Iran looks at our works, they call us Godless. They are correct in their observation. It is going to take an economic collapse on a grand scale for us to face up to what we have become, a land of pagan Christians.


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