The Housing Chronicles Blog: Next up on the To Do list: The Crumbling of America

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Next up on the To Do list: The Crumbling of America


In between the turmoil in Iran, the impending Gosselin divorce, a stock market that can't decide which way it wants to go and an attack on celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, it's hard to think of one more problem to be solved, but this one is important.

The History Channel is currently running a two-hour special entitled "The Crumbling of America," and what it shows is quite sobering. Even to bring up the country's crumbling infrastructure back to where it should be will cost -- you guessed it -- trillions! And who's to blame for this long-delayed maintenance?

Ultimately, we are -- because we think all taxes are bad and insist on electing politicians who are afraid to tell us inconvenient truths. And, as one expert on the show opines, people are going to die before we wake up to the consequences of our collective disinterest in what once made the United States what it was: an infrastructure that created the best efficiencies the world has ever known. Sadly, he's probably right. From the History Channel Web site:

America's infrastructure is collapsing. Tens of thousands of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A third of the nation's highways are in poor or mediocre shape. Massively leaking water and sewage systems are creating health hazards and contaminating rivers and streams. Weakened and under-maintained levees and dams tower over communities and schools. And the power grid is increasingly maxed out, disrupting millions of lives and putting entire cities in the dark. The Crumbling of America explores these problems using expert interviews, on location shooting and computer generated animation to illustrate the kinds of infrastructure disasters that could be just around the bend.

1 comment:

John said...

Patrick, I agree that "we" are responsible, but I'd argue that an aversion to ever-higher taxes is not really the problem. The reasons also include NIMBYism, environmental extremists who oppose water and power system improvements (even solar farms in the desert!), and politicians that have driven up the cost of public projects by caving to the unions time and time again. And when infrastructure is addressed, it's usually to build something new (see the new Washington DC Metro line to Dulles Airport) instead of spending money on largely anonymous maintenance and rehab projects (see the failure to upgrade Metro cars as the feds demanded several years ago).