After bitching about it to the future Mrs. Gekko she finally asked "What the hell is wrong with you?"
I guess what's wrong with me is that I've been preaching roads, police, & fire for years. These are the basics the government should manage; before retirement benefits, before environmental agencies, before schools, before economic development. And yet we cannot trust that the nearest bridge we are crossing is going to hold up.
Plus, I've been stuck on the Brent Spence bridge after a horrific accident tied up traffic for hours. Drive across the northbound lanes one time and you fully understand that bridge is a death trap notwithstanding an actual collapse and yet everyone just keeps shuffling paper like some magic bridge fairy's going to fix it all.
I appreciate the friendly debate with Dave at Nix Guy. I think it's healthy to debate to advance the cause of better, more responsive, government.
Here are his thoughts.
But if you let the politicians direct the dollars, then we have the problem of money being spent on high-visibility projects while ho-hum things like adequate maintenance get the short thrift.
Bridge-to-nowhere being a prime example.
My conservative principle tells me to resolve the dilemma by pushing the decision making down to the lowest level possible, and trust the professionalism of 95% of the civil engineers out there. They'll get it done if you give them the adequate resources.
First, I'd be all about letting professionals deal with problems. However, what about the EPA? If you give them more money and they'll just bog down bridge construction with ever more litigation. In addition, you have intra agency fighting between NTSB, DOT's and local government's bickering about who's going to pay.
Second, even DOT's run by professionals become quasi lobbying groups. There is no pot big enough to fill all the "needs".
Look at your average school system. They are supposed to budget for capital improvements to maintain their existing infrastructure. School boards then "raid" those funds to pay for general operating costs. Twenty years later, they come back to the voters to fund school construction because the schools they have are falling down dumps.
I was walking through the old Riverfront stadium garage, at the time, all of twenty five years old and saw huuuuuge chunks of concrete laying on the ground. A few weeks later, I read that the city, the people responsible for the maintenance of the stadium, used funds specifically earmarked for maintenance general operations.
DOT's are no different. "We need more inspectors, more engineers, more this, more that". The next thing you know these guys have spent billions yet the infrastructure is falling apart.
At least when we get to vote on the people doling out the money the politician might lose their job, not so with a civil servant. These people are harder to get rid of than cockroaches.
The fact of the matter is, government's, including the pols and bureaucrats, are totally non responsive to the wants and/or needs of the citizens they're supposed to serve. I really thought that after 9/11 all government officials, elected or not, would be more apt to execute the mission(s) for which they were hired to handle.
Instead we get more of the same.
And you want these guys to manage your health care. You've got to be kidding me.