NEWARK, N.J. – New Jersey's governor wants to kill a $9 billion-plus train tunnel to New York City because of runaway costs. Six thousand miles away, Hawaii's outgoing governor is having second thoughts about a proposed $5.5 billion rail line in Honolulu.Many public works projects are decried as "pork" or "the government interfering in the free market" by Republicans.
In many of the 48 states in between, infrastructure projects are languishing on the drawing board, awaiting the right mix of creative financing, political arm-twisting and timing to move forward. And a struggling economy and a surge of political candidates opposed to big spending could make it a long wait.
Yet those things, like the interstate highway system, transcontinental rail system, the Hoover Dam, Tennessee Valley Authority, and more all created the infrastructure necessary to encourage and sustain the American economy in ways that short-sighted "free market" theorists (who are usually nothing more than corporate lobbyists with an academic degree) will never admit to.
Those lobbyists would rather not have roads to carry their products/services on than have to pay for those roads.
If the "free market" was left entirely to its own devices, there wouldn't be much electricity or water in Arizona, hence there wouldn't be much Arizona.
However, because of federal projects and spending on things like the Central Arizona Project, Arizona is home to millions of people, as opposed to the thousands (not hundreds of thousands, just thousands) that could or would live here without them.
The Party of No, whether the large-scale version in D.C., the smaller version at the AZ lege, or the street corner variety in places like Scottsdale ("no light rail for us!"), is all about protecting the short-term revenue streams of corporations and the already-wealthy.
Years ago (and now, for that matter), the Rs would rationalize their tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations by saying that "a rising tide lifts all boats." The implication was that by helping the wealthy, the wealthy would help everyone else.
It was and is the era of "trickle down" economics. Yes, I know that this is a very simple, even simplistic, explanation, but tinkle down economics isn't the focus of this post.
What the state and the country should understand is that is backward thinking. The country's real need is long-term thinking, and a realization that the rising tide that lifts working fishing trawlers first also eventually lifts luxury passenger liners as the working class starts spending money.
By sacrificing America's future economic viability in order to bolster corporations' immediate bottom lines, the Party of No is crippling America for decades, possibly ever.