States Rush To Cover Their Butts… Oops… Bridges

It’s amusing in a savage and ugly way to watch all the state politicians and bureaucrats rushing to inspect bridges in the aftermath of the Minneapolis tragedy.

They huff and harumph that they are being responsible and looking out for the public safety.

Which brings up the question – Why?

I believe that if they had been doing their job all along, if they had been inspecting and maintaining the bridges and other infrastructure as they are supposed to do, they wouldn’t be out there putting on a show now to prove how responsible they are.

In an AP story today by Vicki Smith, the widow of one of the victims is quoted:

“How can you know why?” she wondered. “We don’t have control over what happens.”

Well, yeah, you do. Minnesotans chose to elect a governor who declared he wouldn’t raise taxes. Two years in a row he vetoed a transportation bill that would have provided money for maintenance and repair of infrastructure. He laughingly vetoed a gasoline tax that would have put money into repairs. And Minnesotans decided a half-billion dollar baseball stadium was more interesting than maintaining roads and bridges.

Naturally the governor is a Republican, and, according to Pawlenty Unplugged Governor Pawlenty is quite the hypocrite and liar.

But lest I be accused of trashing Minnesotans in time of tragedy, let me say that the entire country is guilty of the same shortsightedness and stupidity.

When your political candidate says he’s going to slash taxes, or not going to raise taxes, where do you think the money is going to come from to maintain services? Who will pay for police and fire and roads and schools and all the other things that government does? Do you think that because he cuts taxes the price of services is going to decrease?  Or is it more likely, as is virtually always the case, property taxes will go up and  fees will go up, and your conservatively-credentialed governor will call those extractions from your wallet something else and give himself a pat on the back for cutting taxes and adding no new taxes?

But perhaps you like the idea of fewer police, fewer fire stations and firefighters, forty-year-old textbooks in your schools, potholes in your roads and bridges collapsing under you and your family. Conservatives promise you something for nothing, and they lie when they fail, and they always fail, to deliver.

And by the way, Minnesotans, the money that could have fixed your now bloodied bridge in Minneapolis?

It’s in bleeding Baghdad.


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