October 19, 2010
Are conservatives to blame for failing infrastructure?
In the LA Times today, Jonah Goldberg defends conservatives against those who blame them for holding up infrastructure improvements.
Goldberg says we just don’t build things the way we used to for a number of reasons — among them, low tolerance for deaths on the job and environmental regulations.
Much of the liberal intelligentsia is awash with nostalgia for the days when government got big things done. Economist Paul Krugman, who subscribes to the Keynesian fantasy that spending just a bit more money than is ever fiscally or politically possible is the answer to all of our woes, is beside himself that Christie won’t pay whatever it costs to make Krugman’s commute easier.
Failure to indulge these building sprees is routinely blamed on the right’s anti-government ideological dogmatism. The irony is that there’s not that much ideological opposition to worthwhile public works projects. There’s some, but most objections are much more consistent with the old-fashioned country-club-style fiscal conservatism everyone claims to miss. The white elephants are just too expensive to build, and they often seem to be aimed at disguising wealth distribution, either to favored unions or to favored donors.
Do you agree with Goldberg here?
I suppose even worthwhile public-works projects are like anything else — wrapped in special interests, taxpayers’ money, and agendas. There’s also an element of drama to the white elephants he refers to: Rebuilding the World Trade Center captures the public’s imagination; fixing ugly bridges and tunnels does not.
Crisis Magazine Comments Policy
This is a Catholic forum. As such:
- All comments must directly address the article. “I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter.” (Matthew 12:36)
- No profanity, ad hominems, hot tempers, or racial or religious invectives. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
- We will not tolerate heresy, calumny, or attacks upon our Holy Mother Church or Holy Father. “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
- Keep it brief. No lengthy rants or block quotes. “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)
- If you see a comment that doesn’t meet our standards, please flag it so a moderator may remove it. “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1)
- All comments may be removed at the moderators’ discretion. “But of that day and hour no one knows…” (Matthew 24:36)
- Crisis isn’t responsible for the content of the comments box. Comments do not represent the views of Crisis magazine, its editors, authors, or publishers. “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God… So each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10, 12)