A Question of Strategy

So-the Democrats have taken the House. The Senate was always a long shot, but it still could have worked out better. 100 women elected. Several young, dynamic Democrats entered the national stage, and ensured themselves long-term relevance by dramatically exceeding expectations: finally, a Democratic bench is developing. There is good evidence that only gerrymandering kept the Democrats from absolutely swamping the House. And of course, it wouldn’t be an American election if there weren’t a bitterly contested recount underway in FL.

So, it becomes a question of what next: what should be the operational blueprint for the House Democrats? Moving forward, how do we, as Democrats, liberals, and yes, even radicals, best serve the Republic?

Example: The Democrats under Obama tried for years to get a seriously-needed infrastructure bill passed, and were thwarted at every turn: effectively, it must be added. It was part of the baldly-stated platform of Total Resistance the Republicans employed against Obama.

Now, Speaker-in-waiting Pelosi has signaled her willingness to work with Trump on an infrastructure bill. Would it help the country? Yes. Would it strengthen Trump? Also yes.

How serious of a threat is Trump to the health of the Republic?

How is the Republic best served?

Is it best served by cooperating with Trump, even though doing so strengthens him?

Does the magnitude of the threat posed by Trump constitute enough of a threat to justify refusing to cooperate with him, even though it may further delay needed legislation? Is the delay the price that has to be paid to prevent larger Trumpian destruction?

In warfare, if you give your opponent a sanctuary, a safe place wherein he can rest, recuperate, and re-arm, you cannot beat him. Likewise, if your opponent has access to a broad range of weapons, tactics, and strategies that you do not, you are most unlikely to beat him.

Currently, the Republicans have access to an entire range of weapons and tactics the Democrats cannot employ: lies, shamelessness, voter suppression, gerrymandering, massive billionaire support, and other forms of out-and-out cheating (see voting machines in GA), in addition to the Trump cult of personality. This puts the Democrats behind the eight ball before they even declare, as does Trump’s introduction of the permanent campaign, which he has used to amass a pre-election war chest of unprecedented size.

So, how is the Republic best served?

A New Progressive Platform

This is a cycle we seem to be caught in. The Republicans get elected, and govern like a cross between a barbarian horde and a drunken fraternity. Then, the Democrats come in, and have to do the expensive and unpopular work of fixing the problems…which makes them unpopular, allowing a new Republican horde to ride into town like a panzer division on acid, and start the looting and pillaging anew.
As long as we are caught in this pattern, progressives /cannot/ win any lasting victories. There will only be occasional pauses in the downward spiral. How do we break out of this cycle? The answer, it seems to me, is big ideas. We have been so focused on repairing the damage that we haven’t done anything honestly worthwhile in a very long time. ObamaCare came close, but not really: like HillaryCare 20 years earlier, it was hobbled by its attempt to work within the existing paradigm instead of embracing the kind of genuine restructuring that might have genuinely changed things. So, we’re talking about New Deal, Great Society big. BIG.

So, here’s my Big Idea Platform. I’d like to know what the people think of it.

1) The Election Reform Act
This act will include public financing of elections, based on the understanding that any transfer of a thing of value to a public official or political campaign should be considered an attempt to bribe that official, and an end to partisan redistricting. There are robust, mature systems of public financing around the world available for study and adaptation. It is long past time to end the system of legalized bribery that has captured the US government and rendered it unresponsive to the needs of the general population. Likewise, all redistricting shall be done by non-partisan commissions.

2) An “Apollo Program” for clean energy.
It will be based on solar, wind, and wave power. Such a platform shall include a new energy grid that harnesses distributed micropower generation and AI management, and a new generation of nuclear reactors capable of using existing stocks of nuclear waste as fuel. This will simultaneously reduce carbon and heavy metals pollution in the environment, mitigate climate change, and eventually rid the country of nuclear waste.

3) Universal healthcare.
This can include a true single-payer system allowing access to everyone while allowing private providers for those who wish to avail themselves of additional services. Again, robust, mature systems are available for study and adaptation. Possible models include France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, and Canada.

4) A program of free post-secondary education or business investment.                                        Under this program, citizens will be able to either A), attend four years of a public university at public expense, B) access the amount of money four years of schooling would cost and use it as seed money to start a business, or C), any combination thereof: for instance, a student would be able to attend two years of technical school and then access two years worth of seed money funding for a start-up. Such a program will also include the forgiveness of all existing student loan debt, which is currently consigning two generations of Americans to debt peonage and acting as a huge brake on the US economy.

5) Raising the minimum wage.
This will include indexing the minimum wage to the inflation rate, putting an end to the degrading spectacle of continually having to beg for a continually-shrinking slice of the pie. Likewise, and for the same reason, Social Security benefits shall be indexed to the inflation rate.

6) Ending the war on drugs.
This will include the outright legalization of cannabis, the pardon of all federal prisoners held on simple possession charges, and the institution of a robust national drug treatment program for addicts. Under this program, regulatory authority will be transferred to the Food and Drug Administration, the DEA will be abolished outright, and asset forfeiture will not occur in the absence of a criminal conviction. This program will include a ban on the transfer of military equipment from the Department of Defense to civilian police departments, and a requirement that any civil judgement against a police officer must be paid by the officer personally. This program will hold that possession/intoxication itself is not a crime, but that criminal behavior, such as DUI, is.

7) Immigration reform.
Under this program, all immigrants, documented or otherwise, will be granted amnesty and allowed to stay if they register. This will allow immigrants to be protected under labor and civil law, ending the problem of legitimate business being undercut by underpaid, illegal labor. Any illegal employment of an undocumented worker shall be considered a felony. Likewise, immigrants convicted of crimes of violence, theft, fraud, espionage, or a pattern of criminal behavior, are subject to permanent deportation.

8) The Federal government as the employer of last resort.
This can be thought of as a new WPA: anyone unable to find productive work can go to work for the government, building/repairing infrastructure, parks, public buildings, etc. This should make the institution of a Universal Basic Income unnecessary, although a cost-benefit analysis and comparison between this program and a UBI should be conducted.

9) The Fourth Amendment Restoration Act.
This will outlaw any and all warrantless electronic or physical surveillance of a citizen, and will include a Citizen’s information Bill of Rights, which will state that any business that compiles information on a citizen for sale or other distribution is required to notify that citizen and give the citizen the opportunity to dispute information included therein. Further, any business that profits from the sale of individuals’ information will be required to share those proceeds with the individual.

10) The Private Security Services Reform Act.
Private prisons, police forces, military contractors, and intelligence agencies, or any other businesses serving largely identical functions, are henceforth banned.

11) The Assault Weapons Control Act.
Any firearm design that includes a detachable magazine and a semi-automatic or autoloading action shall be considered a Class III weapon under the National Firearms Act. Further, the manufacture, sale, or distribution of any device designed to increase the rate of fire of an otherwise legal weapon, such as, but not limited to, trigger cranks, multiple-fire triggers, or so-called “bump-stocks”, shall be banned.

12) The Honesty in Commerce Act.
Any business that engages in systemic theft or fraud, as has been widely documented in, among others, the banking and auto-repair industries, shall be subject to seizure and liquidation without recompense to shareholders, and shareholders shall be held liable for crimes committed to their benefit. Likewise, the importation, manufacture, sale, or distribution of any device designed to access or steal from individuals, such as credit-card skimmers and car lock defeat mechanisms, shall be banned.

13) Adoption in total of S.1006, the “Equality Act”, to, finally, “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.”

14) The Criminal Justice Reform Act.
In order to avoid the further criminalization of poverty and to promote equal justice before the law, this bill will reform the cash bail system as follows: No bail for a violent felony. Sliding scale for a first-time violent misdemeanor; no bail for a second offense. Not showing up is a no-bail felony. Analysis of an arrestee’s likelihood of showing up based on previous history and investment in the community; sliding scale bail depending on results-unlikely to appear, high bail, likely to appear, low (or no required) bail.

Feedback, suggestions, and comments are encouraged.

The Flint disaster can happen in your city too

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released their last infrastructure report card in 2013 and gave the United States an overall D+. This country’s infrastructure is in dismal shape, which means many people have been, are being, and will be harmed in some way, be it via a bridge collapse, poisoned water, crumbling schools, sewage or oil leaking into the ground or homes (yes, sewage leaking into the home has happened to me (in New Jersey) and to my parents (in Indiana)), and sadly, the list goes on.

Investment in infrastructure is imperative to prevent it from collapsing all around us. Failure to do this not only poses great safety risks to the public but is also a drain on our economy. Investment doesn’t mean using taxpayer dollars only—private-public partnerships should be sought. Infrastructure must be better regulated too. Some may scream there is too much regulation and perhaps on paper that is true, but time and time again it is revealed post-disaster that systems and equipment were not being adequately maintained or regulated. Prioritizing penny-pinching and profit-seeking over people’s safety should never be an acceptable way to operate.

The Flint, Michigan, water situation could have been avoided. It is an example of the devastating consequences when poor governance, lax oversight, minimal to no accountability to the public, poverty, austerity, and aging, unsafe, or contaminated infrastructure collide. The Republican Governor with his mania for austerity and appointing emergency managers (in Flint, Pontiac, Detroit, Highland Park, Benton Harbor, to name a few) has contributed a good deal to this crisis—and yes, he did, no matter how much some people want to spin it. Governor Rick Snyder asserts that Flint’s water crisis was only brought to his attention in October 2015. Even if that proves to be true, why did he wait three months before taking any action to right this wrong? Continue reading

I now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming…

…Why, you ask? Because a certain story of American gusto has taken the nation by storm. And, well, I am not totally buying the narrative.

By now, we’ve all heard the heart warming story. 56-year-old James Robertson walks over 21 miles to work…5 days a week…for 10 years. Let me repeat that. Mr. Robertson has walked over 21 miles to work for 10 years. After his car gave out on him over a decade ago, this man did what he needed to do in order to remain gainfully employed. In the process, the job became his life.

 

The sheer time and effort of getting to work has ruled Robertson’s life for more than a decade, ever since his car broke down. He didn’t replace it because, he says, “I haven’t had a chance to save for it.” His job pays $10.55 an hour, well above Michigan’s minimum wage of $8.15 an hour but not enough for him to buy, maintain and insure a car in Detroit.

Is this job really worth it? I mean, walking that far every Monday through Friday! Why not just quit?

“I can’t imagine not working,” he says.

Okay, so this man is no taker. He exemplifies the idea that a man who won’t work won’t eat. Right?

Robertson’s 23-mile commute from home takes four hours.

He also seems to understand that anything worth having might be difficult to obtain and keep. The four-hour journey to keep a $10.55/hour job practically yells commitment. Right? And his employers speak very highly of him. His manager speaks of Mr. Robertson as a model employee.

“I set our attendance standard by this man,” says Todd Wilson, plant manager at Schain Mold & Engineering. “I say, if this man can get here, walking all those miles through snow and rain, well I’ll tell you, I have people in Pontiac 10 minutes away and they say they can’t get here — bull!”

I know what you’re thinking. What exactly is the issue? What can be said other than the fact that Mr. Robertson’s actions are the embodiment of what we think of as American Spirit? His story is remarkable. I find that there are, indeed, a few remarkable things about this story. (Spoiler Alert: American spirit doesn’t make my list.)

Topping the list, of course, is James Robertson. In my view, this is not a case of American can-do spirit. In fact, America plays little to no role here save setting and nationality. This a case of a remarkably determined man doing remarkable things in order to survive. The triumph or victory (if you call it that) belongs solely to the man himself. His grit, his determination, his perseverance, and his commitment make him a man to be respected and admired.

Secondly, I find it remarkable that so many Americans read his story, recognized his actions, and responded. According to  USA Today, over $230,000 has been raised on behalf of Mr. Robertson. That number is expected to rise.  I was pretty sure that there were still good people in the world, and the response reaffirmed that belief.

Finally, I find it remarkably disheartening that this story, while touching and inspiring, is not unique. My life has allowed me to experience many, many James Robertsons. I grew up in a community where this type of feel-good story was the norm. I have witnessed single mothers walk to work after death, divorce, or abandonment removed fathers from homes. I have witnessed married women walk similarly exhaustive treks in order to supplement the father’s income so that the family could make ends meet. I have witnessed fathers walking from home to Job 1, then Job 2, and sometimes Job 3 before walking home again.

Circumstances of birth, I suppose, make these people good Americans. In my eyes, they are simply good people. And therein lies my issue…this nation is full of good people doing remarkable things on a daily basis. Not in an effort to be labeled “good Americans”, but because they must be done. The stories of James Robertson and countless others make me wonder why Americans can’t see the economic failure embedded within the feel-good.

But… I return you to your regularly scheduled programming…

Ferguson, Pt. 1

Some links I found interesting about what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri:

What’s goin’ on?

Things we’ve been reading:

First, a friend of mine shared this.

I lightly broke it down (do read it) with this response:

1. Referring to yourself and/or group of friends as “bro” seriously might as well be a sign you’re a douchcanoe.
2. “Midnight or after, if you have been talking for awhile and they’ve had a couple drinks, ask if they want to dance. If you see an untalked to group or a solo girl, go up to her and ask if she wants anything to drink. If she says yes, get her a drink and then ask if she wants to dance. If she says no, ask her to dance. DANCING IS FUN!!!!! Always try to dance. If she does not want to dance and is with friends, say “aw thats no fun” (or something like that) and then ask one of her friends.”
I thought the stereotype was that guys don’t like to dance, which made the all caps insistence DANCING IS FUN massively humorous. But is DANCING FUN with creepy guys who call each other “bro?”
He really does need to learn about the body though. There’s a lot in between “just under the boob” and “fingering her.”  Just sayin’.
3. “If she starts putting her hair over her ear, THAT MEANS SHE WANTS A KISS.”
I had no idea this was part of the mating ritual of humans. I’m sure my husband is stewing “That feminist bitch I married never puts her hair over my ear, dammit.”
WTF is he talking about? Well, he sure is fond OF ALL CAPS.
4. ” 6. Ejaculate (should also be self explanatory) ”
No, I’m sorry, I don’t follow, care to explain? Preferably in ALL CAPS, AMIRITE BROS? How many women do you think this “bro” *shudder* has so cleverly used this MASSIVELY AWESOME ADVICE ON, [name of friend]? Success rates count.

Also, why are people so stupid to think emails won’t be leaked, etc? Geez.

In other news:

A Most Dysfunctional House

So we are experiencing a government shut down.

The last time we had one, I was an adolescent and news via internet, blogs, and the like weren’t popular. (Cue the sound of your modem . . . )

I actually had health insurance 17 years ago, and I was (unfortunately) using it.  (I say “unfortunately” because being sick and in the hospital = not fun).  So yes–I spent one shut-down (1995) in the hospital. I would ask my parents and nurses about the effects, but I gathered from my sources it wasn’t really hurting anyone too much. I still really don’t know, but I gather I was being spoon-fed some information so I could focus on recovering—?

Now, I’m not yet insured (not my choice). I have two children.

And I know what it’s like to be poor.

The shutdown hurts the poor.
It hurts children.
It hurts the barely-existing middle-class.

. . . and more . . .

My friend and fellow blogger found this gem:

“We’re not going to be disrespected, We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

— Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)

I know. Sigh. Deep breaths.

WTF!?!?!

Let’s review:

  1. The Executive Branch approves the ACA/Obamacare, which was drafted by the Heritage Foundation.
  2. The Judicial Branch of the government, the Supreme Court, has ruled that the ACA/Obamacare is Constitutional.
  3. HALF of the Legislative Branch has approved the ACA/Obamacare. Sure, some of the members of the Senate may not like it, but they realize that it is, in fact, law.

Could this be the most dysfunctional House in a century? It certainly seems to be in my three decade lifespan.

Olympic National Park, May 2005. (Photo by me)

The National Parks are gated shut. You can look at the nice photograph, but don’t expect to be able to see anything like it in person right now.

Headstart funding is killed.  Meals-on-Wheels and WIC are slaughtered.  Crucial scientific research on all sorts of things–including pediatric cancer–has ceased because the NIH is gone.

And there’s more we’re not investing in because Rep. Stutzman, Rep. Yoho and others have a point to prove.

I’m sure they’ll figure out what their point in a few weeks.  I’m also sure people directly impacted by this tantrum-led shutdown won’t care, won’t get their medication, their food, their education, etc. These aren’t things you just “make up for” with more later.

So while we wait for the House majority to figure out what the hell their point is, we’re hurting our most vulnerable citizens first.

Investing in the future of this country is clearly not a priority.

Be sure to thank your Representative if they did their best to prevent this.

If you’re in a situation like me, then make your voice heard and call/email your Representative of this sad, dysfunctional House.

I posted the what follows earlier this week. Sadly, it bears re-posting:

(transcript below video):


[clip begins partway through former Vice-President Al Gore’s speech at the Brookings Institution this morning] …I will have more to say about this [climate change report] on many other occasions, but, because this report was released just hours before we gathered here, I would not have felt right about not addressing it.

Now, I’m gonna talk about the potential for a shutdown in just a moment, but, uh, I think the only phrase that describes it is political terrorism. “Nice global economy you got there. Be a shame if we had to destroy it. We have a list of demands. If you don’t meet ’em all by our deadline, we’ll blow up the global economy.”

[pause] Really? Um. Where are the American people in this? Why does partisanship have anything to do with such a despicable and dishonorable threat to the integrity of the United States of America?

Protection or Privacy?

On Thursday, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, by a margin of 288-127. See a vote breakdown here.

The Senate has displayed little interest in considering this bill so far, but it’s still worth considering the pro’s and con’s of CISPA.

This cybersecurity bill is broad, allowing corporations to share customer’s private information with other firms and the government.  This is applicable even in cases where the company has a contract not to do so.  Companies would be exempt from liability should the act pass.

Proponents of the bill claim that its primary purpose is to protect infrastructure and institutions from online attacks.  They say that the bill has nothing to do with government surveillance, and that the information obtained would be usable only in cases where a cyber threat is detected.  They also make clear that the information collected will not be stored and/or used for any other purposes.

big-brother-posterOpponents of CISPA are many and are vocal, calling for a blackout today. They point to the fact that the language is broad enough that it is difficult to be certain what the information gathered will be used for.  “It is written so broadly that it allows companies to hand over large swaths of personal information to the government with no judicial oversight—effectively creating a “cybersecurity” loophole in all existing privacy laws.” (eff.org) Opponents are uncomfortable with the idea of information being used for “national security purposes” as well as concerns over a loss of cybersecurity.  These worries are amplified by the fact that companies would be authorized to hand over information directly to the NSA.

President Obama has threatened a CISPA veto, claiming that it does not do enough to protect privacy and civil liberties.  This threat is semi-assuring, but not altogether a sigh of relief. After all, Mr. Obama had threatened to veto the NDAA, which he later signed into law.  Although top intelligence officials warn that hackers are “a greater national security threat than terrorists”, the administration believes that that the legislation does not adequately address or protect privacy concerns.

Congress could have taken an important step towards calming public outrage if it had not blocked the Perlmutter provision.  Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Co.) stated, regarding his amendment, “It helps the individual protect his right to privacy and it doesn’t allow the employer to impersonate that particular employee when other people are interacting with that person across social media platforms.”  It was voted down 224-189, republican majority.

President Obama’s threat of veto may sound promising, but it is also at odds with his stance that cyber threats are a concern for his administration.  The American people are all too aware of the fact that  government is not always altruistic.   The concern may be valid but is the overreach necessary?  Our nation’s security is and should be of utmost importance to the nation.  Yet, individuals do have the expectation of privacy when using social media.  More importantly, individuals absolutely have the right to due process.

In any case where an individual is suspected of cyber threats, our constitution is very clear on how to handle it.   Obtain a warrant.

I Don’t Want a Big Government

I’m sometimes accused of wanting a big government. That really pisses me off.

True is, I don’t care how big the federal government is. In fact, I want it to be as small as practically possible.

I just want certain things done.

______

I want the most vulnerable people in America protected and cared for. I don’t want the richest individuals and corporations to be able to take advantage of others and impose their arbitrary wills on them.

I want our children and people kept safe.

I don’t want America to fall behind in developing new ideas that can help our people and our economy. I want research that will benefit all of us.

I want America to do whatever we reasonably can to help the poor, starving, and oppressed in other countries. I want good relations with other countries as much as possible, and I want us to stand up for other countries that are our friends and need help.

I want the environment protected for future generations.

I want laws that protect our rights and privacy, and I want those laws fairly and justly enforced.

I want to know that the food that I eat and the medication that I take is safe and effective.

I want world-class highways and infrastructure that are worthy of the richest country on the planet.

I want everyone to have access to good, basic health care.

I want people who lose their jobs for no fault of their own to be supported until they can find another one.

I want our children – all of our children – to receive a good education, regardless of where they live or how much money they have.

I want people treated fairly regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, or anything else that should be irrelevant. Yes, I want people judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

I want safe workplaces, free from discrimination, where they can organize just like managers and owners can.

I want people to be able to speak freely, and worship as they please.

I want the homeless sheltered and the hungry fed.

I want our economy to run smoothly and productively for the benefit of everyone, not just the richest few.

_____

Yeah, I guess I want a lot. But it’s not an unreasonable list, and I don’t think it’s asking too much that the richest country on earth provide these things for its people. Other countries manage to.

If these things can be most efficiently and effectively accomplished with a bathtub-drownable-sized government, then bring it on.

The problem is, they can’t.

 

$2 Trillion—America’s Crumbling Infrastructure and the Iraq War

The American government chose the Iraq War in March 2003. Convinced Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction based on cherry-picked evidence, a war-hungry administration aided and abetted by most in Congress—from both political parties—and the mainstream media, invaded Iraq. This war was supposed to end quickly with the U.S. being hailed as liberators and celebrated by the Iraqi people for their new-found freedom at a mere cost of only 50 to 60 billion American taxpayer dollars.

The reality of that misadventure is quite different. Ten years later, the financial cost of that war is $2 trillion and climbing. The repercussions have been devastating to American and Iraqi lives, economies, and infrastructure. $2 trillion spent on pre-emptive war could’ve been used in more constructive and moral ways right here in the United States.

American Society of Civil Engineers logo

American Society of Civil Engineers logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every four years the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) assesses the state of infrastructure in the U.S. Their 2009 Report Card estimated it would take an investment, both public and private funding, of $2.2 trillion to repair and modernize the country’s infrastructure—roads, bridges, tunnels, water and sewage systems, parks, schools, energy, rail, aviation, etc. The overall grade given to American infrastructure was a D. This is a serious crisis—one that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Yesterday, the ASCE released their 2013 Report Card. The results remain dismal though there was slight improvement. The good news is that the country’s D has risen to a D+. The bad news is that the investment needed by 2020 is $3.6 trillion. Drinking water, solid waste, wastewater, bridges, rail and roads are the areas of improvement since 2009. You can see the grade given each category here.

To understand how critical infrastructure improvements are all one needs to do is recall events such as the levees breaking in New Orleans in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, or the bridge collapse in Minnesota in 2007, or more recently, Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast, devastating municipalities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, revealing structural vulnerabilities throughout the region. The bottom line is that failing infrastructure weakens our economy.

Investing money in infrastructure projects not only improves the economy, allows for goods and services to be transported efficiently and reliably, protects communities and people, but also creates jobs–now.  Fareed Zakaria, experts at the Brookings Institute, and others have proposed establishing a national infrastructure bank, set up as a public-private partnership, just for this purpose, with the stipulation that legislators are forbidden to include any pork barrel projects.

However, with the current composition of our government and the ongoing debt ceiling and budget deficit fights in Washington there is neither the will nor the urgency to address this critical and dangerous problem. $3.6 trillion is a staggering price tag, but the infrastructure crisis is a solvable one. The ASCE report provides specific solutions, but here are three broad ones:

  1. Increase leadership in infrastructure renewal
  2. Promote sustainability and resilience
  3. Develop and fund plans to maintain and enhance America’s infrastructure

It is estimated that war financing—including interest and medical and disability benefits to veterans—will continue for decades at a cost of $6 trillion. We are still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis and conservatives are loath to make investments in American infrastructure, which will help the economy by putting people to work and creating safe, efficient land, air, and water routes to support and transport people, goods, and services.

Americans must focus on priorities that will strengthen this country for future generations, as prior generations did for us. These investments will create jobs, maintain and improve our quality of life, insure the safety of drinking water, bridges and roads, transform the power grid, and provide safe and toxic-free environments in schools and parks.

Andrew Herrmann, P.E., former President ASCE says in this video, “Infrastructure is what binds our country together.” All this costs money, yes, but it is an investment. In the end, it will save money and lives as well as lift our infrastructure quality to the level of other industrialized nations. Although the U.S. is ranked 7th overall in global competitiveness, it is ranked 25th in the infrastructure category in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 edition

Remember: $2 trillion and counting… If you include Afghanistan and Pakistan, it’s closer to $4 trillion. U.S. infrastructure cannot afford another Iraq.

2013 Report Card 

ASCE 2013 Report Card Videos 

Related articles