The cost of Bush’s wars — comes home to haunt us

The American Society of Civil Engineers issued a cry of alarm five years ago in the form of three separate report cards on the state of the nation’s infrastructure in 15 major categories — from bridges to rail lines, pipelines, dams, waterways, highways and all other publicly regulated facilities…

U.S. infrastructure repairs and new projects have been repeatedly postponed as defense requirements and two wars over the past 11 years took priority…

Infrastructure has been a key U.S. priority — on paper. On average, since World War II, the United States earmarked 3 percent of its gross domestic product to infrastructure. But this was cut by one-third to 2 percent since 1980…

As U.S. national priorities changed, the U.S. government gradually shifted the lion’s share of its infrastructure responsibilities from federal to state and local. Thus, the federal government moved an estimated 75 percent of public infrastructure costs off its books.

Years of deferred infrastructure costs followed.

Below ground, the United States has 2.5 million miles of pipeline — enough pipe to circle the globe 100 times. One-third of them are 40 years old or older and, says ASCE, they don’t receive the care they need…

The Federal Highway Administration says 11 percent of total highway bridges in the United States are “structurally deficient” and require “significant” rehabilitation or outright replacement.

The average age of a U.S. bridge is 42 years. But almost 200,000 of the nation’s 600,000 highway bridges are 50 years old or older. That number is expected to double by 2030. Almost $100 billion is needed “NOW!” to handle the backlog of deficient bridges.

Bridge safety is a top national priority, several congressional studies state, but federal programs fail to meet the need. Funding for wars — Iraq and Afghanistan — is at $1.6 trillion and still a climbing priority where needs are invariably met.

Congress, in yet another exercise in muddled thinking, spends only 13 percent of available funds on bridge repair and rehabilitation. Countless millions of vehicles are traveling across structurally deficient bridges…

ASCE’s overall bottom line: at current investment levels, losses will accumulate every year to a total loss of nearly $4 trillion to the national GDP and $7.9 trillion in lost business through 2040.

In general I try to make the appropriate semantic differentiation between ignorance and stupidity. But, we seem to have reached a point where the Party-formerly-known-as-Republican cherishes the sum of funds denied for infrastructure, social programs, aid to poverty-stricken families – even in the midst of the greatest economic collapse in over a half-century. Ideology completely overrules good sense.

And that is stupid. Stupid behavior. Stupid refusal to confront the essential requirements needed to maintain our economy – much less to encourage growth and global competitiveness.

Honestly, I really don’t understand why? Have these political hacks and their willing servants decided they don’t care what kind of country their children and grandchildren will live in? Are they so certain their own tidy little gated community is well enough off to thumb their noses at the majority of the American population?


4 thoughts on “The cost of Bush’s wars — comes home to haunt us

  1. yepirategunn says:

    What a stunning exposĂ© – both as a metaphor and unbelievably – reality. Stupidity, ideology…children,…grandchildren..all those incredibly pertinent points you hammered out just won’t disappear.They might actually not care at all. It is shocking.

  2. cissyblue says:

    Just simply for clarification, I would also like to point out that life behind those gates in no way imitates real life, and the inability to change and acknowledge the priorities needed to be addressed, is beyond stupid, really… Bravo, Mr. Eideard, good work!

  3. exult49 says:

    Excellent resume of the 8 years that W . Joke was on power. I wrote almost the same considerations in my two last posts concerning the presidential elections. Apparently most americans do not recall , they do not even associate the reasons why since 2008 you’re in the hool……..
    Ignorance , stupidity perhaps ,but still unbelivable that the majority do not vote ….. A serious contraddiction. . You’re so attached to your flag, your star &stripes and when it comes the moment to be a good citizen , then you desert. Strange ….Perhaps not , after all , 1/3 do probably feel emarginated by this icone…. Well, good luck fellows try not to get s…….once more…

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