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Only 1/3 Stimulus Is For Infrastructure

At first we were surprised to see this buried in the back pages of the New York Times.

But then we realized that the article points out that the stimulus money is being squandered on things that it was never supposed to be spent on:

U.S. Infrastructure Is in Dire Straits, Report Says

Published: January 27, 2009

More than a quarter of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Leaky pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water every day. And aging sewage systems send billions of gallons of untreated wastewater cascading into the nation’s waterways each year.

These are among the findings of a report to be released Wednesday by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which assigned an overall D grade to the nation’s infrastructure and estimated that it would take a $2.2 trillion investment from all levels of government over the next five years to bring it into a state of good repair.

The society had planned to release the report in March, but moved it up to try to influence the debate over the $825 billion economic stimulus bill being negotiated by the Obama administration and Congress. Advocates for greater investment in public works projects have expressed disappointment that less than a third of the current proposal — which could be approved by the House on Wednesday — would be spent on infrastructure, and an even smaller part of that would go toward traditional concrete-and-steel projects like roads and transit

The current stimulus plan is weighted toward tax cuts, aid to the states, and an expanded safety net for people struggling to make ends meet. Much of the infrastructure spending it does contain would be in unusual areas. The plan devotes money to creating a database of health records, for example, and would spend more money making federal buildings energy-efficient than on repairing roads and bridges

The society gave the nation’s roads a D-minus, noting that Americans are spending an estimated 4.2 billion hours a year stuck in traffic and that 45 percent of major urban highways are congested. Transit and aviation did not fare much better, getting D grades. The society noted that while mass transit use increased 25 percent from 1995 to 2005, nearly half of American households still lacked access to bus or rail transit. And it said that the increasing delays faced by airline passengers highlighted the need to modernize the outdated air traffic control system.

For the first time, this year the group examined the nation’s levees, and gave them a D-minus. The report warned that many of the nation’s levees were built more than 50 years ago to protect crops, but now protect communities. It warned that the cost of repairing and rehabilitating them could exceed $100 billion.

It is altogether fitting that the article ends by mentioning levees.

For this infrastructure stimulus boondoggle is turning out to be exactly what the Democrats always do with all such money.

They use it to reward their friends and to buy more votes.

This is the New Orleans Levee Board writ large.

And we are about to get our Katrina.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, January 28th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

30 Responses to “Only 1/3 Stimulus Is For Infrastructure”

  1. proreason says:

    This is step 1 in the pitch for Depression Stimulus II.

    After the really high priorities of supplying condoms to pre-teens, funding Acorn for eternity and spreading 80B in tax credits are taken care of, we will have to go back to the well to prevent the next Katrina and enrich the nation’s honest infrastructure contractors, who have been living hand-to-mouth since the Big Dig and the paltry $200M they received from the miser bushhitler for building tar shacks after the first Katrina .

  2. greasywrench says:

    This upcoming abuse and waste that WILL happen reminds me of what happened here on the left coast (Kalifornia) with the tobacco tax windfall. Instead of the money being spent on what it was primarily intended, it went for golf courses, street works, and Meathead’s (Rob Reiner) pet projects that had nothing to do with smoking and health issues.

    The State General Fund in The Peoples Republik Of Kalifornia is the fiscal equivilent to a black hole. And of course our spincters in Congress got its pay raise this year. The beat goes on and on and on……

    • caligirl9 says:

      My stepfather retired from the California Department of Corrections a few years ago. He worked as a medical technical assistant for 20+ years (he’s a former Navy corpman who was able to get his LVN license following his tour of duty) and that position is also custody, so he was required to attend the correctional officer’s academy and qualify shooting at the range several times a year. Stepdad loves his guns, collects guns and is a lifetime member of the NRA! Hooray!

      He used to make bank with all of the overtime, but both he and my mother have albatross adult kids who looked at the couple as a personal banking system eager to pass out grants to 30+ year old “kids,” so their liquid savings are minimal. So his income is his prison retirement, my mother is on social security.

      They have the money for their house payment in February, but if Kalifornia is still forced to do the IOU thing, they are worried about March’s payment. Up until three months ago I could have helped, but losing the community college contract has put me into dire straights too. I have February’s rent and enough to pay January’s utility bills and buy groceries. I’m working on a small project that, if I finish by Monday, will allow me to pay March’s rent, but not February’s utility bills.

      Is there anyone who lives near the southern border that can testify to foot traffic going the other way back into Mexico? ‘Cause if Kalifornia doesn’t give benefits to illegals (and we know it does) and the state is also out of dinero, that means the check isn’t in the mail. I know I am a broken record about the southern border, but I honestly believe that is one of this state’s main problems.

      Rob Reiner is a big nasty infected zit on the butt of this state… as are 99% of those Hollywood types. I try to avoid stuff he’s had a hand in, but you gotta admit “This is Spinal Tap” is one of the best flicks ever!

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Thanks to your stepfather for his service to our GREAT nation! Being a Marine and wounded twice I can attest to the courage of these CORPSMEN (not medics) and the duties they preform. The ones I knew were a “part” of the “Brotherhood”.
      As for “Spinal Tap”….puffpuffpass!! F-U-N-N-Y!!
      “….But this one goes to 11.”

    • Anonymoose says:

      I empathize caligirl, this is much worse than the last big recession I went through in ’91, back when people were worried about Japan buying us out and the job market was supposed to be the worst in “50 years.” People I know left and right are out of work and everyone else is worried, and between this and Barack-the-Uberliberal I keep hoping to wake up and find out I fell asleep with an episode of the Twilight Zone on.

    • proreason says:

      Caligirl, you and your parents should adjust your withholding to zero both for federal and California taxes, immediately. Seriously. If you have little income, you shouldn’t be sending in monthly taxes anyway. You can catch up with quarterly payments when things improve.

      If you haven’t done that before, not to worry. I have done it for years with no bad consequences, other than paying insignificant amounts of interest.

      It won’t be a windfall, but it might enable you to hang on until the better day arrives.

      Good luck.

    • caligirl9 says:

      I think I was sort of lucky in that back in 1991 I was in the middle of dealing with my 1989 back injury. I was in between surgeries at that time, and on plenty of antidepressant medication. So for me, the “check was in the mail” in the form of temporary total disability. Not bragging about that, because honestly if I had a choice I’d like my pre-RN back again instead of the mess I have today and never have this 20-year gap in employment or employability.

      My story gets better. I was on Social Security Disability (not the welfare, but the one for actual injured workers) and it was pulled from me last fall because I made “too much money” since 2001 (I was living far below poverty levels anyway for what it takes to live in the Bay Area) and yesterday I got a bill to pay back $76K in benefits. Doesn’t matter that that check was how I paid for utilities and groceries (I usually managed to earn enough to pay $1700 a month rent). Believe me, I wasn’t buying a new car or taking vacations on that money.

      In some parts of the country, that $850–900 is enough to live, especially if you have others in your household working and you can pool your assets. That’s not my situation; I live with a college-age daughter who is also having problems finding work.

      Yes people, I am still a conservative. I’d have stopped those checks if I had ever been able to get regular predictable employment that I could count on from month-to-month. I have not had work like that since 1989, when I got hurt.

      I’ll be meeting with a bankruptcy attorney in the next month once I get my current back crisis fixed, and heaven help me, I’ll probably end up back under my mother’s roof by summer, utterly unemployable because of where she lives (rural agricultural, not too many writing jobs there!).

    • Liberals Demise says:

      cali……I’m sorry if I sounded glib in any way. My heart is with you and if I could help you carry your cross…. I would.
      I use humor as a way to deflect my real anger towards the path that is being force upon us all. There are many here that are “WAY” more in the know than I am. It is through them that I can bear witness and attest.
      “No better friend…..” LD

    • proreason says:

      Caligirl, the maximum earnings for SSN disability in that timeframe was around 700 to 900 per month, so it sounds like you did exceed the limit. My wife is on disability and we have had to watch that carefully for several years. If it’s any comfort, I know people who have gone years owing back taxes and student loans with no dire consequences, and I would expect the same to be true for you since you weren’t trying to cheat the system. But don’t be surprised if the bankruptcy attorney tells you that the SSN debt can not be absolved. You also shouldn’t hesitate to explore other programs for low-income families. Conservatives don’t look down on helping people. We look down on people who don’t try to help themselves, and you are certainly not in that category. Good luck.

  3. 1sttofight says:

    And we are about to get our Katrina.

    I have looked at Katrina. She aint worth the $5 she is asking for.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    There is a rape happening here and there are a sh!t load of rubberneckers. Is there not ONE good person to kick the balls off the rapist? What is the rush to push this through sooooo quickly? Is the rapist afraid that the raped will see his face? No time for a post coitous smoke?

    Not according to the “ONE”!
    “Wham, bam, thank you ma’am!”

    • cjokry says:

      That’s a very apt analogy.

      The big hurry is, get this over with quick so the voters have lots of time to forget about it before they hit the poles again. If the Dems hold their majority after the midterms, we could be taking a lot of this.

    • TwilightZoned says:

      This IS being rushed through. LD your are correct there is a rape happening here. It also confirms the statistics…most know their attacker.

  5. proreason says:

    It’s fascinating to read what liberals and many center right commentators are saying about the Depression Stimulus package.

    The consensus is that it’s spot on what the country needs. The Moron has hit a home run.

    To quote myself….”we truly live in a bizarro world”.

  6. Dangerous says:

    This is just not right. We’re looking at the biggest, most obvious theft that the government has pulled to date, and people are applauding them for it?

    It’s just as well we’re not supposed to use profanity here, because I’m not sure I can think of any words that capture the enormity of the situation.

  7. BigOil says:

    At least all 177 Republicans in the House voted No. Quite the victory for Barry the great Unifier.

    • proreason says:

      BigOil, I just saw that myself. 2 Dems voted no as well.

      This confirms that the Depression Stimulus package is a Socialist partisan deal being jammed down the country’s throat by a party with a 3% win last November. Incredible.

      Thank you House Republicans. Who knew they had kahunas?

      Failure will be entirely on the Democrats now. Maybe there is hope for the country yet.

  8. Liberals Demise says:


    • proreason says:

      You might want to try a bit more ice in the next one LD. (just kidding). I hope the new job is working out. Sounds like it might be.

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Thanks…..Its work and thats good enough for my kids!!
      (I was getting under their skin….dig it?)
      More ice…….ok!!

  9. U NO HOO says:

    They are/were talking about a water park in Florida.

    Florida is surrounded by water.

  10. proreason says:

    Wise words from VDH:

    “If anyone wished to know what the baby-boomer generation would do when, in its full maturity, it hit its first self-created, big-time recession, I think we are seeing the hysterical results. After two decades of unprecedented economic growth, rampant consumer spending, and unimaginable borrowing to satisfy our insatiable appetites, we are suddenly going into even larger debt and printing trillions of dollars in paper money to ensure that someone else after we are gone pays the debt.”

    me me me me me me me me me me me me me me


  11. Perdido says:

    I repeat: We are about to witness the most breath-taking levels of corruption and graft ever perpetrated in the history of the United States of America.

  12. greasywrench says:

    To caligirl9 – I live in the Los Angeles (San Pedro) Harbor District and I’ve seen no difference in the numbers of Hispanic workers congregating in the local Home Depot, Day Labor Hiring Centers, and the various corners here in San Pedro (Gaffey & Miraflores) where the workers hang out hoping to be hired.

    So it looks like the “foot traffic” is still pretty much a one way street. Maybe it is different closer to the border but I doubt it. Also, look for Obummer and the ACLU going to bat if anyone tries to cut service here in Kalifornia to those that are here illegally. We’re going broke here on the Left Coast and the State is going to be issuing IOU’s again (remember 1987) but we somehow have to pay for health care and education that we can not afford for those who don’t belong here.

    I know my post is anecdotal but to the best of my knowledge things haven’t changed very much. I work in the auto industry as a mechanic so I do have lots of experience working with illegals. One of the shops I worked in had four illegals with no Drivers Licenses or Green cards. So guess who had to do their test drives and write-ups after they finished a repair? Me. So much for law abiding shop owners.

    The influx of illegal auto techs has also driven wages in the auto repair industry into the toilet. Example: I was making 15.00 dollars an hour flat rate in 1982. That has dropped to 12.00 per hour straight time now. There is just so much competition for the jobs here in So Kalifornia one has to take it or leave it. Being somewhat close to retirement (fifty-five) doesn’t help in the choice of shops when it comes to being hired either.

    I can tell you that almost every auto and body shop I have ever been employed in was generally staffed by Hispanic techs. The profession is probably seventy-five to eighty per-cent dominated by various ethnically hispanic groups. I am talking about Mexicans, Salvadorians, Hondurans, Guatamalens Cubans, etc…This isn’t xenophobia on my part. It’s just the way it is. They’re usually great guys and good workers but so many are illegal.

    I have read several articles in the local paper, the Daily Breeze and on Yahoo about a slight drop in the money being sent back to Mexico last few years. It fell from a high of 26 billion in 2007 to 25 billion in 2008, supposedly due to the decline in the building and construction trades (also dominated by Hispanics here in So Kal) and our general economic slow-down. This influx of American dollars is a very large part of Mexico’s economy so it has to be indicative of some effect. But… I don’t see any major changes in Los Angeles. Same old same old.

  13. Steve says:

    I really like my stimulus plan.

    With the $819 trillion dollars about to be allocated by Congress you could build 20 or even 30 nuclear power plants.

    Think of the number of jobs that would entail, at all skill levels.

    And many of these jobs would continue as the plants would need to be maintained.

    Think of how they could be spread about the nation — so that the money would be fairly distributed.

    Thank of how much this would wean us off of foreign oil and prevent dangerous green house gases. Electric cars could become a real possibility.

    Think of how simple it would be to monitor the projects and guard against fraud and waste.

    Of course this last is the reason the Democrats would never go for it.

    That, and they don’t think it would not reward their constituents buy them enough future votes.

    But it is simple, it would boost the economy, rebuild the infrastructure, and it would be a long term boon that no sane person could deny.

    Even the French realize it.

    If the Iranians can do it, why not us?

    • JohnMG says:

      The Iranians are already being ruled by a dictator. We’re just getting started down that path.

      Its gonna take a while. :-{

    • proreason says:

      SG, it would be great plan for the economy and would virtually insure the future of the country. But the part about it being easy to eliminate waste and fraud kills it for the Democrats. If they couldn’t lie, cheat and steal, how would they make their livings?

      And it doesn’t give Obamy much to meddle with. He’s been waiting in his dorm room for decades to break out and begin using the country as his tinker toys. After all, he’s a Great Man, not a construction engineer.

  14. cammycam says:

    The amount of money on this stimulus is staggering. We don’t need more contraception. As a gay male, I have a shoebox of free condoms and lube passed out at the gay bars. What we need is a way to lift the burden from employers of crazy health care costs. Yes, I know socialism isn’t conservative at all, but US employers are hiring in Canada because of their system. Increase the tax credit for health care expenditures from employers from 100% to 120 or 150% and then they’ll give benefits to even the lowest part time employee – watch. Plus, Bush’s stimulus actually put off the pain of this recession for a good 8 months for $150 billion. Obama’s tax plan will work if he implements it. It’s morally wrong for Obama to dictate compensation limits, but he can tax them more.
    As for infrastructure, they should make sure bridges around the country are checked, to prevent bridge collapses like what happened last year, kind of like a No Child Left Behind of infrastructure. Otherwise, it’s all pork. WTF is with the ACORN 4 billion. Strike that.

    There are so many good things intelligent progressives would do with a fraction of the wasteful spending of this plan that would actually help working families, but instead Obama has chosen the weirdest most outlandish most partisan things to spend it on.
    Even as a liberal (that’s getting swayed by Ann Coulter) I think more should be tax cuts and less spending along the lines of Rush’s tounge in cheek stimulus proposal. Condoms and non-profit grants just expand the culture of poverty.

    • proreason says:


      whazat? A liberal who isn’t a mindless Obamabot?

      As a card-carrying anti-Moron’ist, I can’t agree with you 100%, but I’m refreshed to know that there is someone on the other side that can use his brain to do more than chant hopey-changey endlessly.

      Plus, you may actually LISTEN to Ann Coulter, rather than have little kitty heart attacks when she doesn’t swoon over The One. That’s a great start to becoming a free adult and leaving the womb of liberalism.

      As your un-official greeter, I’m thinking you could actually post here is safety if you continue along these lines.

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