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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/1/17

Pouring trillions into the black hole of war while our national infrastructure continues to decay

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The more taxpayer dollars that are sucked into that black hole of war the more cracks appear in the foundation of America, its national infrastructure, at the center of almost everything that goes on in America; from the transportation of goods to people driving to work and a great deal in between.

This government's ongoing obsession with war, together with the massive costs of the U.S, military empire are, in effect, contributing to this deterioration which is happening all across America; with the interstates, main highways, local roads, and the rail system. There are areas of substantial decay that we can't really see, such as bridges, dams, waterways, sewer systems and the electrical grid.

There is no question but that the repair and rebuilding of the infrastructure will generate excellent returns on investment for America. It will create millions of new jobs calling for a wide variety of skills and experience such as heavy equipment operators, engineers, electricians, steel workers and a host of others. This would be a tremendous shot in the arm for our economy, just what this nation needs.

In contrast, the proliferation of war has a reverse effect; it not only wastes a tremendous amount of taxpayer dollars on acts of destruction, but it creates untold thousands of new enemies that will find ways to retaliate; that's exactly what the war on terror is doing.

The infrastructure, the physical heart of America, is in this state of disrepair because the funds that would even bring it up to normally accepted standards are not being appropriated. Members of Congress have no hesitation when it comes to rubber stamping funds for the military but when it comes to this important domestic need they give it no great priority.

Experts on this matter indicate that bring it up to normal standards will take $1 trillion; and to go further and bring it in line with the high levels present in a good number of countries in Europe proper, Scandinavia and Japan, it would take another trillion.

In collecting the necessary statistics for this article, I came across an excellent book, Third World America, by Ariana Huffington. Here are some very interesting and also very troubling stats relating to this deterioration as brought out in this book.

*The U.S. invests only 2.4% of its gross domestic product on infrastructure; in Europe it's 5% and in China it's 9/%. Why the great difference? Because these other countries don't waste theirs on war.

*According to the EPA, on average, an important water line breaks in this country every two minutes; such a break occurs almost every day in Washington, D.C. Also, waste water treatment plants are rapidly deteriorating across America.

*25% of this country's bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Bridges which have an average life span of 50 years are now averaging 43 years.

*Broadband, fast becoming one of the most important foundations of our economy, dropped from a ranking of 4th in the world in 2001, to 15th in 2009. Worse yet, it is not being upgraded and expanded to keep up with the rapidly increasing demand for this important service.

*School buildings are a critically important part of our national infrastructure; the bad news is that it is estimated that it will take some $322 billion to bring them into a state of good repair.

So that's a snapshot of the condition of this infrastructure. Alarms should be sounding across America over this situation. But would this Congress even hear them since its members are so very busy addressing the needs of the masters of Corporatism and the Military-Industrial Complex.

We have a government filled with politicians who can't seem to grasp this fact of life. When a bridge collapses, when a primary waterway becomes impassable, when large portions of key highways and interstates are shut down because of massive deterioration, the costs of rebuilding, just getting them back to basic operations is far more costly than if they had received basic maintenance and repair.

How in the world can this government fail to address this massive problem? In this world rankings report on infrastructure the U.S. is ranked #11. For a country which its politicians like to refer to it as great and exceptional how can that be?

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on OpEdNews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)
 

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