Tina Dupuy: Attention Congress – fix the potholes
It’s an odd Americanism to elect someone to be in government who freely admits they don’t like government. As if reluctance translates into competence. “Oh, he’ll be a great husband, especially since he doesn’t believe in marriage.” For some reason, we buy the premise of politicians begging to be a part of the thing they are, in theory, against.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele said last year, “You and I know that in the history of mankind and womankind, government – federal, state or local – has never created one job.” It’s a battle cry repeated by many a Republican, often said in front of people employed by the U.S. Postal Service (the second largest employer in the country), public school teachers and the U.S. military – jobs which the government created.
For U.S. citizens, the most common interaction with the government is on the road. When you drive down the street or use the sidewalk, you are utilizing something your federal and local governments build and maintain. Yes, that’s the government messing up your car’s alignment. And along with bridges, dams, drinking water, energy, waterways, levees, public parks, rails, schools and sewage, it’s all in desperate need of repair.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gave our infrastructure an average of a “D.” They also reported it would take $2.2 trillion over five years to bring that grade up to a “B.” The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AKA the Stimulus) allotted $105.3 billion to infrastructure projects. So we’re the richest country in the world yet we’re spending only 5 percent of what we need in order for our citizens not to die from bridges collapsing and levees buckling.
This is the most basic thing the government can do: fix the potholes. Fix America. Business can’t work if we don’t have roads. Left, Right or Independent – we are all dependent on a functional sewage system and an electrical grid.
In light of this, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said his party’s top priority is to make Obama a one-term president. So after the Bush Lost Decade of job growth and wages, a current 9.6 percent unemployment and other countries (e.g., Kazakhstan) outperforming us in basic literacy, the Republicans once again opt for myopia. Instead of enabling the country on its most fundamental level to work, the Republican plan is to throw a monkey wrench in their opponent’s presidency. Their eye is on one prize: a one-term president.
Here’s a message from the people “on the ground:” Knock it off – and fix the potholes.
• Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the editor of FishbowlLA