July 2, 2008
Anti-tax jihadist and Republican bigwig Grover Norquist is famous for having said he doesn’t want to kill government, he just wants to make it small enough that it can be drowned in a bathtub.
Thanks to the conservative penchant for faith-based infrastructure maintenance, every summer in America brings a bigger bathtub:
The worst Midwest flooding since 1993 has generated images of swamped towns, cracked roads, washed-out bridges, overwhelmed dams, failed levees, broken sewage systems, stunted crops and water-logged refugees.
The losses are in the billions of dollars and still mounting, as the costs of crop losses alone send shocks through the inflation-wracked world food system and threaten insurers.
The disaster has reminded policymakers of the decrepit state of U.S. infrastructure, stirring concerns similar to those following the deadly Minneapolis bridge collapse in 2007 and the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Even before the latest flooding, a group representing engineers said the United States needed to spend about $1 trillion more than it does now to bring infrastructure up to par with modern needs and standards.
“The patch-and-pray approach simply won’t succeed,” said David Mongan, head of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
But the group also said its five-year cost estimate was outdated and does not count the price of new roads, rails, and sewers required by a growing population, nor the cost to repair damage inflicted by the recent Midwest floods.
President George W. Bush has asked Congress for $1.8 billion to boost funds for flood recovery but it is unclear how much of that money will end up in infrastructure repair.
Of course it’s not clear how much of the money will go for infrastructure repair. Under Bush rules, virtually none of the money will go for infrastructure repair. The preznit has hungry lobbyists and campaign contributors to feed, and only a few months left to put another layers of fat on their flanks. All you heartlanders who turned up your noses and laughed along with El Rushbo as New Orleans drowned better invest in life rafts and water wings. Getting screwed by Republicans: It’s not just for dark-skinned people anymore!
I propose that from now on, flooded areas — in fact, any area hit by an overwhelming natural disaster area — be referred to as Grover’s Bathtubs, in honor of the man whose knowing, bottomlessly cynical use of anti-tax pledges and other weapons of mass hysteria helps keep those roads and bridges decaying. Because, you know, government doesn’t work — unless, like Grover, you know how to work the government.