Friday, February 29, 2008

Bridge work

(not about going to the dentist)

I don’t know about your area but around here all the politicians are buzzing about infrastructure. Let’s build new bridges and roads! After this winter, the taxpayers around here can relate to the pothole problem in the roadways.

Our elected officials give two reasons for the soundness of their plan.

1) It will stimulate the economy
2) We don’t want a bridge to collapse like it did in Minneapolis

As usual, both reasons are full of holes. But they say the difference between a politician and a used car salesman is that the used car salesman KNOWS when he’s lying to you!

Public works projects are a lousy way to stimulate the economy. True, they DO get people working, but it is nothing like the WPA or the CCC of 80 years ago. A government contract for a road or a bridge is a lousy investment because:
1) The wages are governed by federal prevailing wage laws
2) Contractors load up the bid simply because it IS a government job
3) It doesn’t create anything marketable (unless it is a toll road/bridge)
4) The source of payment is tax money, or worse yet, borrowed tax money that must be paid back with interest

In short, it is nothing at all like opening a new widget factory in town. It is simply borrowing money to put expensive people to work. But it is good for votes, especially if you can get the bridge named after a native son of your political party.

As for the threat of bridge collapse, the engineers have determined that the bridge in Minnesota did NOT collapse because it was old. The collapse was due to the fact that the gussett plates were too thin to begin with, thus causing the bridge joints to fail. The added weight of resurfacing, safety “improvements” like barriers, and construction equipment on the scene stressed the plates to the breaking point.

Actually, when you think about it, the reason for the failure was the extra load of CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT that stressed the weak materials used by the contractor who built the bridge.

Ergo, the bridge collapsed because of the government project, so we are safer NOT to work on our roads and bridges.

That is, of course, absurd logic…but it is also important that we avoid being snowed by our elected officials and their campaign donors.


  1. And then, let's:

    Tear down Cole Hall
    Tax credits for all
    Tax increase for shoppers in Cook County
    tax all businesses so everyone can have health care
    repeal the tax cuts

    Who's in charge of our state's governement and how much dope do they really smoke?

  2. Who is extending credit to these dopes?