You hear the comment all the time, from people on both sides of the political fence, that it seems as if the United States' basic structure and service capability has declined - that "things are going to hell in a handbasket." They'll make vague complaints that "nothing works anymore," or that things have degraded to a "Third World level" (meaning the level of a country that lacks the resources to maintain its basic functionality.)
Well, it turns out that they're right:
The American Society of Civil Engineers last year graded the nation "D" for its overall infrastructure conditions, estimating that it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to fix the problem.
The results include leaking pipelines, failed air traffic control systems in major metropolitan areas, and - in an eye-opener - a power failure that paralyzed the NSA. American citizens are at risk for bridge failures and other life-threatening disasters.
The Society's director adds:
"I thought [Hurricane] Katrina was a hell of a wake-up call, but people are missing the alarm."
Another analyst observes:
"If a terrorist group were able to knock the NSA offline, or disrupt one of the nation's busiest airports, or shut down the most important oil pipeline in the nation, the impact would be perceived as devastating. And yet we've essentially let these things happen — or almost happen — to ourselves."
One function of government is to ensure that its citizens have a safe and functional physical environment. The problem is that we have a political movement in power that doesn't believe in government. They would rather "drown it in a bathbub" - or in the Ninth Ward.
So the next time you hear somebody complain about how this country's "going to the dogs," remind 'em who let the dogs out.
(via Raw Story)