America is #1! We’re the richest nation is the world! American exceptionalism! Blablabla. You would think with all of that chest beating over how Star Spangled awesome America is, we’d take a tiny bit more pride in how our roads and bridges looked. But we don’t and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx ripped into Congress this past Friday like a parent chastising a child for a messy room:
“We ought to be embarrassed as a country,” he said after an appearance at a Washington, D.C., Metrorail subway station in Northern Virginia.
“We just ought to be embarrassed that we have potholes in this country that aren’t filled; we have bridges that are crumbling; we have roads that need to be done; we have transit systems that are in a state of disrepair and others that we could be expanding; and we’re twisting in the wind,” Foxx continued.
Now, the immediate cause of the hold up is that Congress can’t agree on how to pay for the proposed bill that would cost $478 billion over 6 years. But the actual long-term problem is that Republicans are engaged in a systematic sabotage of the economy.
I know, I know! I’m a liberal and biased and full of lies. Buuuuuuut here’s an interesting chart:
See that sharp peak in 2008-2009? That was the Stimulus Bill that Republicans viciously attacked. After that? Republicans took the House and they’ve refused to vote for any kind of funding to fix decaying bridges and rotting damns and shoddy highways since then.
The reason is not complicated at all. Once upon a time, Republicans LOVED infrastructure spending. Fixing roads and bridges and damns is fantastic for the local economy and those jobs cannot be outsourced. Everyone pushed for their piece of the VERY large pie. Republicans (and Democrats) could bring millions in federal funds to their districts, create a bunch of good paying jobs, leave behind shiny new roads and bridges and take credit for it all.
But that was before President Obama. Once Obama was in office, the entire Republican party had one single goal: Stop his progress at all costs, no matter who got hurt in the process. A large, and mostly unreported, part of that sabotage was putting a stop to infrastructure spending. Over one hundred billion dollars that should have been pumped directly into the economy was withheld by Republicans solely to prevent economic recovery.
Sooner or later, a dam will burst because of this intentional neglect and hundreds or thousands will die. Republicans will, of course, blame Obama (or Hillary) while continuing to block the funds that could have prevented the inevitable tragedy. All to score political points in elections over a slow economy.
At some point, we, as a country, have to stop pretending that the GOP is a political party and treat them like the existential threat to America they are.