Tag Archives: Infrastructure

Five Problems Bigger Than the National Debt

I am so tired of hearing politicians talk about the “DEFICIT” like it was the biggest threat to America since communism or some other previous excuse not to deal with real problems…

This is an entirely manufactured “crisis” and the “Conservatives” are trying to use it to kill programs they have always hated  anyway- like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and VA Benefits.  They are also using it as an excuse to cut federal jobs.

For example, I called the Veteran’s Administration 12 times today trying to check direct depositing my Mother’s benefits from my Father’s service.  I wasn’t allowed to do it on the web because it is a Custodial situation.  Each time I got a message telling me they could not take my call because of high call volumes and to call back later.  It took 2 years to get the benefit application approved due to “staffing” issues- and then only with Congressional help…..Hire some people, goddammit!

This is madness….


I’ve had my say on this many times.  We do not have any deficit problem that can’t be solved by higher employment, growth and investment in much-needed infrastructure projects.  The GOP and their Democratic enablers are only making the situation worse by not addressing these core issues responsibly and intelligently.

Someone needs to break the DC bubble and it sounds like maybe, just maybe, there may be some sensibility leaking into the Capitol.

But they still have a long ways to go and need to start by not listening to the Tea Party fools and their Billionaire sponsors or the Corporate chieftains.  Of course ending corporate welfare, such as subsidies to the oil companies, and making the wealthy pay their fair share by closing tax loopholes would also help…

I’ll keep hoping they will hear Paul Krugman’s voice calling from the wilderness.  Meaning outside of DC and it’s suburbs…

From Yahoo Finance:

With even top Republicans such as Eric Cantor beginning to question the political wisdom of waging perpetual warfare over the deficit, it’s possible that Washington may slowly turn its attention to other, more pressing matters.What could be more urgent than deficit reduction? you may ask.My answer: Almost everything.If deficit reduction was ever urgent, it no longer is. We’ve already accomplished most of the deficit-reduction required in this decade, nearly enough to stabilize our debt, but at a great cost to current economic growth. We’ve sacrificed with high unemployment, tepid growth and underinvestment in public goods.Not to mention our inability to get anything else done while we bicker about deficits.The $16 trillion debt sounds like a terrible thing, but no one has been able to show how this high level of debt has had any negative impact on the economy or on the people so far. Has anyone come around looking for your share of it?Interest rates are very low, so the public debt isn’t crowding out private investment. The burden from interest payments is extremely low, less than half what it was when Ronald Reagan was exploding the federal budget back in the 1980s. We survived.

MORE:   Five problems bigger than the national debt – Yahoo! Finance.

Leave a comment

Filed under Congress, Politics, Uncategorized

Hassles of Air Travel Push Passengers to Amtrak

Great article in today’s New York Times….

The airlines simply regard people as cargo to move from place to place.  As someone who travels by air at least once a month or so, I can tell you, there is nothing pleasant about air travel anymore.  It is uncomfortable.  The planes are often old and dirty.  Customer Service is non-existent.  If anything goes wrong, you can be stranded for days- at your own expense.  It’s just horrible…

I wish train travel were a viable alternative….

It’s truly a shame how America has let it’s passenger rail system decline over the last 50 years.  I wish it was a more viable alternative to air travel in other parts of the country besides the Washington-New York- Boston route.

If we had more trains and more convenient scheduling, I’m convinced train travel would take off outside the Northeast Corridor.  It certainly works in Europe and it would encourage more local tourism, without as much negative environmental impact as car and plane travel.   I would love to be able to catch a train for a day trip somewhere like you can in the UK….

Unfortunately, this will probably not happen in my lifetime.  The “conservatives” have let our infrastructure crumble and aren’t willing to invest in it anymore….

But at least it’s working in the Northeast….

Now, if only we had visionaries who would build on this success….

A decade ago, Delta and US Airways shuttles were the preferred mode of travel between the cities. But high fares, slow airport security and frequent flight delays — along with Amtrak’s high-speed Acela trains, online ticketing and workstation amenities — have eaten away at the airlines’ share of passengers.

Between New York and Washington, Amtrak said, 75 percent of travelers go by train, a huge share that has been building steadily since the Acela was introduced in 2000 and airport security was tightened after 2001. Before that, Amtrak had just over a third of the business between New York and Washington.

In the same period, Amtrak said, its market share between New York and Boston grew to 54 percent from 20 percent.

Nationally, Amtrak ridership is at a record 30 million people; the Northeast accounts for more than a third of that and is virtually the only portion of Amtrak’s system that makes money.

via Hassles of Air Travel Push Passengers to Amtrak – NYTimes.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics, Travel

Infrastructure Improvements ‘Key To Recovery,’ Report Says

This is what really scares me about the short sighted group in Washington today…

If we don’t start making infrastructure investments, not only will the economy stall, but we won’t be positioned to move forward and compete with other nations…

Another example of where we are heading toward becoming a Third World Country if we don’t start investing in infrastructure and our future…

Slaughter wrote that modernization efforts like high-speed rail development are vital to economic growth — and helped make the U.S. a leading economy in the first place: “High-quality infrastructure has helped boost U.S. productivity and standards of living, in part by encouraging global companies to create high-paying jobs here. Today, however, America’s infrastructure is deteriorating — both in absolute terms and relative to other countries that are rapidly bolstering their infrastructure.”

The nation’s aging infrastructure was thrown into sharp relief in August 2007 when an interstate bridge jammed with rush hour traffic suddenly collapsed, pitching dozens of cars into the Mississippi River below and killing 13 people.

via Infrastructure Improvements ‘Key To Recovery,’ Report Says.

Leave a comment

Filed under Energy, Politics