Thursday, August 02, 2007


While much of our country is obsessed with the celebrity crackwhore of the week, there is another incredibly huge problem facing everyone single person living within the borders of our country (legally or otherwise).

America is falling apart. Literally.

Actually the INFRASTRUCTURE of our society is slowing falling apart (sewers, power plants, roads, bridges, public works, etc.). I had heard about this recently but never did any real research because -- like most of us -- I had assumed that it wouldn't affect me.

That was, until I read this article:

FDR put America to work building courthouses and dams, planting windbreaks and arbors, creating music and plays--jewels that are still with us. Ike, a fiscal conservative, saw the need to launch the Interstate Highway System. Lyndon Johnson fought for crucial investments in hospitals, schools, water systems, and parks.

From the early 1950s into the 1970s, total public spending on America's physical plant (including money put up by local, state, and federal agencies) amounted to about 3% of our Gross Domestic Product. In the 1980s and 1990s, however, this investment in the public good fell victim to posturing budget whackers and dropped well below 2% of our GDP--a cut of more than a one third.

Then as if that wasn't enough:
  • Road and bridge conditions all across the country aren't just a mess--they're deadly. ASCE reports that bad and congested roads are a hidden tax that runs us $54 billion a year in car/truck repairs and excess operating costs, forces us to spend an average of 47 hours a year stuck in traffic (burning 2.3 billion gallons of gasoline in our idling vehicles), and--worst of all-- causes some 13,000 highway deaths each year. Bridges, too, are a threat; ASCE finds that 27% of America's spans are now structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, requiring $9.4 billion every year for the next 20 years to repair the deficiencies.
The bursting of even a small dam can be a disaster. We regularly drive over dams, but we can't see the internal structures, so we don't give dam safety any thought-- until a dam fails. Then the TV has saturation coverage of the issue-- but soon it disappears again. Since 1998, the number of unsafe dams in the U.S. has risen by a third to more than 3,500, with the number of "high-hazard" dams up by 1,000. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) reports that $10.1 billion is needed over the next 12 years just to fix dams that are in such critical shape they pose a direct risk to human life.

So in other words, we are in deep poop the next time something major happens, like... I dunno... a thunderstorm.

Bush & Co. refuse to spend the money on rebuilding our national superstructure for the upcoming population boom as well as to just maintain it for the 300 million currently living in the U.S.

Imagine if all that stuff failed at once?

The toilet flushes but fills with the backlog of waste from the broken sewer lines.

You run out side, and the sidewalk cracks in half because of overuse.

You look for police, but you can't see because the street lights went out.

You try to get out of town but the one bridge that takes you to a major highway has fallen into the river.

Living in NYC, the idea of any of these things happening on a major level is terrifying to say the least. Even those living in small town America needs running water and power. Maybe we should all start getting serious as a society and call our representatives.

Go ahead, I wait for you to finish watching American Idol.



brooklynteacher said...

If only the media would report on things that we should really be concerned with, instead of the latest celeb DUI or sex scandal. If only mass market media weren't owned by conglomerates that are government controlled. If only the fear they instilled in us consisted of genuine concerns instead of which ever middle eastern country is "a terrorist threat" this week. If only...

The Gotham Protagonist said...

Well said...New York City is only getting worse.