Thursday, December 9, 2010

Civil engineers trade group brown-noses Leviathan

From the president of the American Society of Civil Engineers yesterday in a news release entitled "Transportation Infrastructure Policies May Leave Economy Gridlocked":
"America's roads, bridges and transit systems form the foundation of our economy and our quality of life. Now, as many of those critical systems are sliding closer and closer to failure, we are getting hit with the harsh reality that treating the problem with short-term policy solutions and 'band aid' funding measures hasn't been successful or beneficial to our long-term outlook."
The "foundation of our economy"?  No, that's a bit of hyperbole.  Roads and bridges are certainly the means of moving lots of people and goods, which are central to economic life.  But they are not the foundations of economic life itself.  Those foundations are -- or, rather, should be -- sound money; strictly respected property rights; rule of law; minimal government intervention; etc.  And transit?  It is important to many middle- and lower-income Americans in urban centers, but it is not a foundation of the US's national car-and-truck-centered economy.  And if these systems are "closer and closer to failure," isn't that a failure of...government monopolies, whose financing mechanisms are structural, fatally flawed?
"Investing in infrastructure will never be cheap, and having that conversation while families and businesses are struggling will be difficult. However, we must remember that failing infrastructure is already having an impact on the wallet of each and every American, whether it's in wasted fuel, declining productivity or increasing costs for everything from milk to blue jeans. This isn't a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. It's an American issue, and we have to demand that it be treated as such..."
TRANSLATIONS: "Investing" = "More public sector spending"; "never be cheap" = "Let's screw taxpayers hard together so we civil engineers can at least eat when Bernanke's hyperinflation hits"; "having that conversation..." = "Our lobbyists will to lubricate the congressional appropriators"; "...will be difficult" = "Members of Congress, don't listen to your moron constituents."
"That is why the American Society of Civil Engineers continues to urge Congress and the White House to take a leadership position on ensuring that the nation's transportation infrastructure is able to meet our needs, both now, and in the future. By overhauling existing policies to provide better performance standards and accountability measures, as well as long-term, stable sources of funding, our leaders can help us maintain and improve America's global competitiveness and quality of life."
Of course, spending the US into deeper debt, raising taxes on anxious and hard-pressed taxpayers, and funding transportation boondoggles is no way to "maintain and improve America's global competitiveness and quality of life."  So much for the ASCE itself "taking a leadership position."

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