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January 27, 2011

It’s Less Cumbaya And More Cash-n-Carry

What could possibly bring together the United States Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO, two organizations that often find themselves in bitter disagreement over issues of public and private policy? The one thing that always tends to unite people in common purpose, no matter what their prior antipathies:

Spending your money.

In a joint statement, the traditional adversaries extolled the virtues of President Obama’s call for giving more of your money to their members:

“America’s working families and business community stand united in applauding President Obama’s call to give us your money by spending it on pet political projects.”

“Whether it is building roads, bridges, high-speed broadband, energy systems and schools, these projects not only give money to union members and business owners, they are an investment in building the modern lobbying infrastructure our members need to compete for sweetheart government deals.”

We may have paraphrased that a little.

Still, we need to spend money on our crumbling infrastructure,… wait, sorry, spend more money on our crumbling infrastructure given its advanced state of crumbleage.

Of course, It’s been crumbling for a long time now.

October 22, 1982: RX For State’s Crumbling Infrastructure

April 17, 1992: A Warning: Old Cities Crumbling

March 10, 2005: Crumbling Infrastructure Erodes American Quality of Life

Artist’s conception of our crumbling infrastructure:


As the President pointed out in his State of the Union address, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave us a “D” on our infrastructure report card.

The ASCE is very serious about our crumbling infrastructure.  For example, take this interview with the president of the ASCE, Blaine Leonard:

HOST: And if that bridge collapse in 2007 (I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis) was a big wakeup call to the country, do you think that there's been significant progress made since then?

Mr. LEONARD: No, unfortunately, really not. It was a wakeup call. Some people started talking about doing some things, but the fact of the matter is the infrastructure continues to decline.

This is unfortunate, although made slightly less unfortunate by the fact that the bridge collapse in 2007 was due to a design flaw and had absolutely nothing at all to do with giving insufficient amounts of your money to the Chamber of Commerce or AFL-CIO.

Also, the trend has actually been reversing for years meaning our infrastructure has many years of crumbling ahead of it.

But none of that is important.  What’s important is that we have managed to achieve bipartisan agreement between two old adversaries who have somehow managed to set aside their differences and work together to get the government to hand your money over to them.

No one said bipartisanship was going to be cheap.


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January 27, 2011 at 07:05 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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