Saving America – Page 4

(cont. from Page 3)

taxpayer- funded piece of art has a decent chance of passing over a deficient bridge. I’m not calling for us to raise taxes so that we can spend more money on infrastructure. I’m calling for us to recognize that we need to spend existing dollars based on measurable return rather than political rhetoric. I’m calling for us to recognize that we as Americans must downsize our government to match what our taxes can afford to sustain. And when we do spend, we must demand excellence: water lines that don’t leak, Veterans Affairs hospitals that actually see patients in a timely fashion, and yes, deficient bridges actually repaired, or at a minimum, barricaded. Just imagine if we closed every single structurally deficient bridge. Americans might just demand that we spend money on priori-ties rather than distractions.

At present, hundreds of public agencies do amazing things and produce fantastic results. Tens of thousands of public employees demonstrate incredible ownership, unselfishly giving of themselves to truly serve. Hundreds of thousands more of their colleagues would do the same, were they not trapped in a failed system that rewards rule- bound behavior over results. At the same time, thousands of public agencies tax too much while delivering too little. And hundreds of thousands of public employees accept or even embrace the notion of “close enough, for government work.” We can and must do better.

You might stroll around your town and observe newly paved roads or recently built schools, and think, “Well, my neighborhood looks pretty good.” It might indeed “look pretty good.” The I-35 bridge “looked pretty good,” too. Much of America’s infrastructural decay occurs sight unseen— until it doesn’t. In Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, the ground has been giving way . . . literally. In early 2013, a giant sinkhole measuring eight feet by fifty feet opened up in a low- income city neighborhood, swallowing a street and forcing a dozen locals to evacuate the area. “I thought the world was ending,” said Sherri Lewis, who saw the road outside her apartment collapse. The sinkhole, which was related to the corrosion of aging water and gas pipes underground, was only one of forty such holes that have plagued the city.

In April 2013, an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, killed fifteen people and injured two hundred more. The blast of thirty tons… Next Page