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Report: 1.3 TRILLION needed to fix U.S infrastructure. Will we ever elect a "leader"?

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posted on Aug, 4 2007 @ 04:50 AM
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Originally posted by mjmurphy53711
It does bring the thought though: What if we limited our interests around the world and concentrated on making our country "the best it could be"?


I’d like to see a 15 year plan. Loose in the out years, but tighter as we talk about the near years. Assuming the final tab will be double whatever number we set at the beginning, suppose we decide to make it a $3 T. plan. That would average $200 b. per year. We’d want to take 2-3 years to work up to full speed, so the first 3 years might be $100 b. but the middle 9 years more and the last 3 years tapering off, back to $100 b. at the very end of the period.

In World War 2 we faced a similar problem but we overcame that in part with an EXCESS profits tax rate on corporations (55%) and higher individual tax rates (up to 91%). The less you can keep, the less you tend to want. We can do it anyway we want to do it. For example, we have been willing to raise the cost of a new interchange by 30% because we want to keep the old roads open during construction. One thing for sure I would want to see is small businesses that are adversely effected during construction to be compensated so they do not fail. Finally, we need to think community and not to think individual if we are gong to be able to afford any huge public construction project.

[edit on 8/4/2007 by donwhite]




posted on Aug, 4 2007 @ 05:43 AM
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Originally posted by mjmurphy53711
I wish to clarify my thoughts on this subject:

In my eyes, Iraq has nothing to do with it......war has nothing to do with it. I truly believe that the fact that leaders are too shor sighted to have the desire to do "great things" that we will never be remembered for.

All they care about is making the most of their short time in terms of legacy, re-election, and profiteering.

Someday we will have another FDR, maybe a new new deal.


Yep its all about legacy. The bush-cheney group, look to want to be known for what america will archieve if anything after they have gone. These people just want there name written in stone, but its like what cheney said, bush will be remembered in a kind light, because 2 seconds after hes gone most will forget what he did wrong, and just get on with it.



posted on Aug, 4 2007 @ 01:06 PM
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Representative governments like that of the US were designed to have different levels to take care of different issues. For example, the mayor of my city should spend ALL of his or her time working on the local problems in my city. Likewise, the President of the United States should be spending his time on National issues that affect everyone. He should not have to become directly involved in local issues such as maintaining bridges and other infrastructure. He should be providing leadership and vision and direction but not detailed directions. The President's job is actually very similar to that of the CEO of a large corporation.

Unfortunately, what seems to be happening is that the different levels of government are all starting to reach into other areas that are not theirs. Local officials spend their time trying to push national agendas from their respective political parties rather than attending to the job they were elected to do - such as maintaining bridges and other local infrastructure. This also happens at the Congressional level. Elections for Congressman and Senators are only superficially about local issues now. Most of the contests are really about which political party will be in power in Washington and local issues get pushed aside. Supposedly local contests are being decided by floods of money and advertising from activist groups of all parties from other states and even outside the US.

I think the governmental system of the US as designed by the founding fathers is brilliant. The problem is that the boundaries they set up are being stretched and even completely ignored at all levels. There is no reason a person running for mayor of a small town in rural America should have to change his policies, goals and ideas to be in line with some activist group (of any political party) in New York, California, Texas or anywhere other than his little town.

There are ways to fix this problem but I don't see how any of them would be enacted by the current system. There have been a few brave attempts by people from both political parties to change the rules for financing political campaigns but they have not gone very far.

Unless we can find a way to control the influence of various activist groups and financiers on our politicians, we will get no better than we have now and will probably get worse. Our infrastructure will continue to fail and billions or trillions of our tax dollars will be wasted on pet projects, earmarks and foreign adventures.

My first grandchild was born just this week – maybe things will have improved by the time she is old enough to start voting. I certainly hope so.



posted on Aug, 5 2007 @ 08:47 AM
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posted by itguysrule
Representative governments like that of the US were designed to have different levels to take care of different issues. For example, the mayor of my city should spend ALL of his or her time working on the local problems in my city. Likewise, the President of the United States should be spending his time on National issues that affect everyone. He should not have to become directly involved in local issues such as maintaining bridges and other infrastructure. He should be providing leadership and vision and direction but not detailed directions. The President's job is actually very similar to that of the CEO of a large corporation.


You are onto something big, Mr IT. This becomes more apparent when watching CSpan and Congress in action. The Executive branch is not nearly so open as is the Congress, but the same process goes on inside it too. My local cable tv provider just put CSpan2 (Senate) and CSpan3 into a HD upgrade I cannot afford. I don’t miss watching the Senate but I sorely miss the 60 hours of authors each weekend presented on CSpan2. You can get their schedule at Booktv.org. (Why can't I pick and pay for only the cable channels I want?)

Returning to your theme Mr IT, it’s micro managing. It’s control. It’s power. It’s called EARMARKS when it’s done by Congress. See Note. Simply put, this unhealthy phenomenon of governance is primarily the result of employing an 18th century framework to run a centruy21 society. Look at the gap between the November election and the January taking of office. That delay was ok when we traveled by stage coach but not today. Too much mischief can be done by a lame duck Congress, too much time lost, in that 2 months-long hiatus.

Look at the irrational bicameral legislature we have. That means every law we enact must be enacted TWO times and then reconciled in a joint House Senate Conference Committee. Too much opportunity for more mischief! The Articles of Confederation were unicameral, but the bicameral legislature was a concession to the SLAVE holding states. Equal representation in the Senate. Arguably ok in 1787, but not needed in 2007. Similarly the Electoral College was invented in 1787 as a concession to SLAVERY. OK then, not needed today.

Although every industrialized society faces this same problem of overwhelming size and mind-boggling complexity, it is most acute in the US for 2 reasons, I think. We are the most populous, and we lack a protected - insulated from political retribution - professional bureaucracy. That's why life goes on in most countries despite great changes at the top. Look at Pakistan. it still functions despite being torn asunder by internal differences.

Historically, early Americans resented tax collectors in the 1760s and we tarred and feathered British officials in the 1770s. Aside: Tarring a person is very painful and according to a writer I read 10 yeas ago, it was about 50% fatal. Death coming slowly by infections of the untreated (or untreatable) burns. End.

Example. The underlying problem is that government is TOO big for ordinary mortals to comprehend. Suppose you are a part-time city legislator, say in my hometown, Jacksonville, when you are elected for a 4 years term and are paid $24,000 a year plus perks. The law says “part-time” so it is not my idea. Each has a full time and a part time assistant. The Mayor - a strong mayoral system - presents the city with a proposed budget of $900 million.

Jax has 800,000 people occupying 850 square miles under it merged city-county system. I went down to City Hall and picked up a copy of the proposed budget. It comes in 2 quality printed volumes, just over 400 pages in each, with type on both sides of the page. Each of 10 city departments generate their own line by line budge. The City Council holds weekly public meetings on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, from 7 PM until 11 PM. Like the US House of Representatives, when the number of speakers is large, a person may be limited to 2 or 3 minutes. Working sessions of the Council are excluded from public scrutiny but a record must be kept and it is public.

As I read through the proposed budget - now adopted with minor changes - it became more and more apparent to me that I, a fairly well educated person who has had a lifelong interest in public affairs, would have great to impossible difficulty knowing whether a line item offered at say $70,000 was appropriate at that amount, or should have been $30,000 or even $140,000. I could not tell from reading how effective that line would be or even if it was needed. Or if the money could be spent better elsewhere.

I counted a half dozen randomly selected pages and found 30 to 50 line entries per page. Almost all of the 900 pages were similarly filled. Using the lower number of lines, the budget contained at least 27,000 budget expenditures by line and perhaps as many as 45,000 such entries.

SUMMARY: A councilman or councilwoman has an impossible task. Approving a $900 million budget. This is just one of the many issues that come before a city council annually.

CONCLUSION: Elected officials should decide policies, bureaucrats should implement policies and be subject to oversight by the elected officials.


Note: Earmarks are a legislature’s attempt to impose its will on the executive. Prior to the era of earmarks - 1960s and 1970s - the executive prepared a budget request and submitted it to Congress. The Dems might enlarge the request or it might add items of its own to the Budget. Nixon took the position he had authority to IMPOUND or not spend appropriated money. Congress took the position the executive MUST spend the money it appropriated. Gradually, Congress began to add specific items and appropriate the money for that item because the executive would not otherwise do the Will of Congress. And etc.

[edit on 8/5/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Aug, 5 2007 @ 12:04 PM
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posted by itguysrule
There are ways to fix this problem but I don't see how any of them would be enacted by the current system. There have been a few brave attempts by people from both political parties to change the rules for financing political campaigns but they have not gone very far. Unless we can find a way to control the influence of various activist groups and financiers on our politicians, we will get no better than we have now and will probably get worse. Our infrastructure will continue to fail and billions or trillions of our tax dollars will be wasted on pet projects, earmarks and foreign adventures.

My first grandchild was born just this week – maybe things will have improved by the time she is old enough to start voting. I certainly hope so.


I frequently hear there are 45,000 registered lobbyists. Since many of the larger lobbying firms are located on K Street, I think “K Street” has become a synonym for lobbyists. In 2000, I heard that Congress employs 38,000 people. 100 senators, 435 representatives and 5 delegates from our territories. 540. Disregarding committee staffs, that works out to about 70 persons per member. Not bad when you recall they deal with a $3 t. annual budget. And etc.

I have argued for CFR - Campaign Finance Reform - since my first knowledge of the system we employ to finance our public elections. From the 1950s and 1960s. Even before those days I had heard (and understood) the folk adage “He who pays the fiddler calls the tune.”

This why I usually preface my pleas for CFR with the word, “genuine.” Genuine means to me the public pays 100% of the cost of elections and of the cost of electioneering. It means to me that private money is banned. Made a criminal offense. Buying a cup of coffee for another is a violation. Loaning a candidate a ballpoint would be a crime. And etc.

CFR would necessarily include shortening the time allowed for the electoral process. Behind the scenes activity could begin on Ground Hog Day. Public primary campaigning would start on Memorial Day. Primary elections would be held on Labor Day. The general election as now, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Swearing in of newly elected officials would be on Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend. Persons whose religion dictates no labor on Saturday would take office on Sunday. Balloting via the internet with real time running totals would make elections all the more exciting. And guarantee more participation!

CFR would necessarily impose ultra strict regulations on campaigning prior to the designed electoral period. That goal by the way, can be achieved without harsh draconian prison terms, but rather by registration and licensing of everyone even remotely involved in elections and electioneering. Then anyone found in violation in a prompl hearing before an administrative court would first be a penalized with a short suspension from further activity. If the offender repeats, then banning for 5 or 10 years from future engagement in the electoral process.

Banning would include holding a public job or an elected or appointed position. Subterfuges such as Halliburton hiring Libby as a consultant, would be banned. But that kind (degree) of offense is moving into the “time to serve” category. I’d exclude persons in this class from presidential pardons or reprieves during the term of the sitting president. No more jury nullification by the President, thank you. (Really a CYA move).

As for your grandchild, Mr IT, let us not forget the Bush43 practice - as diametrically opposed to the prior Clinton practice - since his taking office in 2001 of cutting taxes on the rich and near rich so that your grandchild (and mine if I had any) can pay the bills for government and our security we ought to be paying today. Generational shifting of the tax burden. Not very heroic. Not even honest. IMO.

[edit on 8/5/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Aug, 5 2007 @ 01:26 PM
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There are two Supreme Court cases that defeat Campaign Finance Reform. I don’t recall the case names but you can look them up on Google. I am satisfied neither case would have reached the result it did had the Supreme Court have been either the Warren Court or the Burger Court.

Both anti CFR cases came under the Rehnquist Court. The Roberts court is even more anti-democratic than the Rehnquist Court, if that is possible. The current Roberts Court just gave its approving imprimatur to ‘Swift Boat’ type tv ads for the 2008 election. Sad.

Here is why I say what I do about the PEOPLE having an inherent power to regulate their own elections without offending freedom of speech. Public elections, not private elections. I counted the words, “Chosen,” "electors,” “elected,” “elections,” “vote,” and “votes.” Those 6 words appear in the US Constitution and its 27 Amendments, twenty-three (23) times.

OTOH the words, “freedom of speech” appear only once (1) and that in an amendment, one part in the 5 part First.

The Rehnquist Court based it’s decision on this clause to the exclusion of all others. Under the Rehnquist Court, ONE RICH man trumps ALL other voters! Ridiculous. Counterintuitive. Perplexing. But crucial for the R&Fs (Rich and Famous) to gain control and keep control of America! Thank you Ronald Reagan. Who says one hand does not wash the other?

Assuming frequency of use has some legitimate connection to the degree of seriousness the Founding Fathers attached then it is obvious to me anyway the FFs thought 23 times as much about the electoral process as they thought about FREE speech. To deny Congress the power to impose reasonable rules and regulations on the electoral process and electioneering ti so defeat democracy, in the long run. Well, maybe it already has?

To recall the breadth of power granted to Congress, I refer anyone to US Con Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18. “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”

[edit on 8/5/2007 by donwhite]



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