Monday, October 08, 2007

an offer we should refuse

So we have this op-ed piece about the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minnesota a few weeks ago. The writer correctly notes that de facto Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters' argument that we don't need more infrastructure spending is perhaps not entirely convincing.

His solution? "Stop diverting dedicated transportation funds to wasteful or unrelated projects; unleash private infrastructure investment by removing regulatory impediments; and invest more federal, state and local dollars in infrastructure."

Ok, I think we can all agree that not building bridges to nowhere in Alaska would be a good idea (although businesses are frequently behind these stupid projects, hoping they will get the contract to build said bridge to nowhere). The third point isn't bad either. But the second point is where the writer, Thomas Donahue, President of the US Chamber of Commerce, loses me.

He says the money to fix infrastructure is there if "if government regulators would get out of the way." What he really means is, "let's privatize the roads". That would have two benefits for his patrons in corporate America - lowered personal income taxes for the fabulously wealthy and merely well-to-do (after all, they wouldn't have to pay taxes to support those roads in rural Maine and East St. Louis and other places they don't go to) AND increased opportunity to run businesses on a monopoly basis, having been granted said monopoly by their cronies in the Republican Party.

You know, like Halliburton and Blackwater.

Again, to quote Austin Powers, "Yeah, capitalism." Private enterprise is fine. But some things are more appropriately government-owned and run. I personally believe schools, armies, and prisons should not be run on a for-profit basis by a private business. Add roads to that list.


Post a Comment

<< Home