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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sorry. We're Not Buying It.

The Roanoke Times, in typical fashion, wants Congress to raise our taxes. Again. This time it's the gas tax they want hammered.

Why? As you might have anticipated, because a bridge collapsed. Roads are crumbling. Our spending on infrastructural repairs has been woefully and immorally non-existent. Blah blah blah.

Editorial: The price of ignoring wake-up calls

The collapse of a bridge in Minneapolis last week is the latest in a string of tragic signs that the nation's aging infrastructure is crying for help.

The country cannot allow another tragedy to pass and ignore that cry.

An infrastructure crisis is looming.

The needs, as last week's bridge collapse illustrates, clearly are greater than current revenue. There must be willingness to explore new funding sources.

State and federal lawmakers refuse to use a gas tax increase to fund expanding transportation needs. But funding will become increasingly difficult to find as long as officials continue to resist a higher tax.

The federal gas tax hasn't budged in 14 years.
(
link)
Always the answer. A problem exists. Raise taxes.

No.

We have/had the money to fix every road, every highway, and every bridge in America. And we spent it. WE SPENT IT.

Two short years ago we authorized
a quarter of a trillion dollars to be devoted to "transportation." Where'd it go?

Just last week, the House of Representatives decided to spend
another quarter trillion to make America's richest farmers even richer. Why?

After public outcry over an allocation of
a quarter billion to that Alaska bridge that led nowhere, Congress hid the expenditure and handed the state the funds anyway. Why?

We spend
$56 billion on a Department of Education that is responsible for the education of not one child in this country. Not one. Why?

There's Murtha and his defense budget thievery
pork.
Boucher and his transportation department f
unding of horseback riding trails.
Pelosi who pockets our money for her husband's business.
Harry Reid who enriches himself.
An Alaska congressman - a Republican! - who secures a quarter billion in funds for a bridge to a remote island owned in large part by his family. Not to be confused with that other quarter billion dollar bridge.

On and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and ...

No. We don't need to raise taxes. These bandits have enough of our money. All the money they're going to get. They just need someone to get their attention.

Raise taxes to pay for bridge repairs? Been there, done that. Over and over and over and ...

Wanta Reconsider That Outrage?

It seems like only yesterday that the Charleston (WV) Gazette was excoriating the movement that is afoot across this land to privatize America's toll roads. Something about the looming prospect of "poor maintenance" as I recall.

I wonder how the editorialists there feel now that we learn, after that publically-maintained I-35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed, that we have 70,000 publically-maintained bridges around the country that are in similarly hazardous condition.

I offer this to them, now that they have humiliated themselves and find themselves to be on the wrong side of this issue (not unfamiliar territory for this bunch, believe me) as food for thought:

How to Keep Our Bridges Safe
By Steven Malanga, writing in the Wall Street Journal


The tragic bridge collapse in Minneapolis is a stark reminder that too much of our transportation infrastructure is not well-maintained and requires extensive, costly investments to be fixed or even, in some cases, completely replaced.

Nearly a fifth of America's roads are now considered in poor shape and about 1 in 4 bridges is rated "structurally deficient."

It's unlikely that public funds alone will supply what's needed.

Instead, a few states and cities are now creatively turning to the private sector for help. They are partnering with private investors to build from scratch new toll roads, bridges and other infrastructure that the private owners--not government--will finance and operate. A few cash-strapped cities and states are also replenishing their transportation trust funds--so that they can pour more money into repair and maintenance-- by auctioning off existing toll roads and bridges to private operators, who are bidding far more for these assets than most experts would have
predicted.


Difficult political battles are ahead. But for the first time in over a generation, America's mayors and governors are looking at a realistic way to jumpstart spending they've neglected for too long. The stakes are high. (link)

Indeed the stakes are high. But the death toll will go even higher if we don't abandon the ways of the past. The government has proven itself to be incapable of maintaining our roads and bridges (70,000!). It's time to let those who will have a stake in the outcome take charge.

Too Full Of Themselves By Half

News flash: There are "progressive" bloggers wandering cyberspace who think they should be allowed to organize a union. A bloggers' union. AFL-CIO, listen up:

Bloggers Consider Forming Labor Union
By Ashley M. Hehert, The Associated Press


In a move that might make some people scratch their heads, a loosely formed coalition of left-leaning bloggers are trying to band together to form a labor union they hope will help them receive health insurance, conduct collective bargaining or even set professional standards.

Organizers hope a bloggers' labor group will not only showcase the growing professionalism of the Web-based writers, but also the importance of their roles in candidates' campaigns. (link)
Put me in that "scratching of heads" category. Who do these people intend to collectively bargain with? The New York Times? Blogger.com? When they go out on strike, who will be affected? Will we even know it when it happens?

What these "progressive" union organizers don't realize, of course, is the fact that they - we - are already getting paid that which the product is worth - which is nothing.

Still, it's instructive to listen to these "progressives" try and explain what it is that they hope to accomplish:
"I think people have just gotten to the point where people outside the blogosphere understand the value of what it is that we do on the progressive side," said Susie Madrak, the author of Suburban Guerilla blog, who is active in the union campaign. "And I think they feel a little more entitled to ask for something now."

"It would raise the professionalism," said Leslie Robinson, a writer at ColoradoConfidential.com. "Maybe we could get more jobs, bona fide jobs."


From these two geniuses - progressives, don't forget - we may deduce the following. In order to qualify for membership in the bloggers union, one has to (a) be incapable of putting together a coherent thought and (b) be unemployed, with no hope of ever having a meaningful career. Oh, and (c) hold to the standard "progressive" notion that one is somehow "entitled" to that which one hasn't earned, i.e., a handout.

A union of bloggers? Knock yourselves out.

Let's Check It Out

This story in the Washington Times caught my eye:

Loudoun asks for drought subsidy
By Arlo Wagner, The Washington Times


The hot, dry weather has Loudoun County officials preparing a formal request to Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine for emergency drought aid for local farmers.

The conditions leave farmers scrambling to save summer crops and feed tens of thousands of cattle and horses.

"The grazing grass is gone," said Larry Rosenstrauch, director of economic development for Loudoun County. "Farmers are dipping into their hay, and that's getting into short supply." (link)
In this era when every American, it seems, is looking for a government handout, I questioned whether Loudoun County was actually in the throes of a severe drought. Was this guy just looking for some o' that gu'mint cash?

So I checked the story out. By turning to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Its map shows:

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Indeed, Loudoun County, along with the rest of Northern Virginia, to Hampton Roads (as well as Lee County in extreme Southwest), is in a severe drought.

He isn't making it up.

Map courtesy of the the U.S. Drought Monitor

The Age In Which We Live

Two headlines in this morning's Washington Times say it all:

Some in party fear GOP is straying on social issues

and

'Kossacks' whip up Democrat enthusiasm

As Charles Dickens said, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

For you conservatives out there, a message, from Scarlett O'Hara:

"Tomorrow is another day."

Let Me Rephrase That

House Approves Taxes On Average Citizens:
House Approves Taxes on Oil Companies
By H. Josef Hebert, AP

Washington (AP) - Declaring a new direction in energy policy, the House on Saturday approved $16 billion in taxes on oil companies, while providing billions of dollars in tax breaks and incentives for renewable energy and conservation efforts.

Republican opponents said the legislation ignored the need to produce more domestic oil, natural gas and coal. One GOP lawmaker bemoaned "the pure venom ... against the oil and gas industry."

The House passed the tax provisions by a vote of 221-189. (link)
Taxing Big Oil. The very thought probably warms the hearts of many Americans. Especially those weak of mind.

Corporations don't pay taxes. They simply funnel the increased costs on to the consumer. Thus, you'll be paying for this bit of meanness, at the pump.

Ever heard a corporate head whine about high corporate taxes?