When I was a boy (the 1940s and '50s) the USA was the marvel of the world, not just for winning the war, but for the Marshall Plan, which included money to help the war torn nations of Europe rebuild their infrastructure. We helped Japan too.
Meanwhile, at home, the USA was becoming a shining example of how a country could improve the lives of its citizens, as well as create the basis for a booming economy that benefited everyone, not just the wealthy.
Part of what made the USA such a shining example in those years (in many other ways it was a lousy example, i.e. racial prejudice, but these were the years when that began to be seriously challenged by the few that by the ‘60s became the many) was its amazingly new and well maintained infrastructure.
By the 1970s and ‘80s, that was no longer the case as things began to deteriorate.
And now, forget about it.
Ireland, which when I was a boy was still pretty much the way it had been for centuries—impoverished and without almost any infrastructure—is now generations ahead of us in that regard, which is a large part of the reason why Ireland has one of the most successful economies in the world.
That these two countries have exchanged places, in terms of infrastructure, would have been unthinkable when I was a kid. But nonetheless, it’s mostly true.
Not to oversimplify, but highways and bridges and tunnels and phone and electricity lines, etc. are to a country what the bones and muscles and nervous and circulatory systems etc. are to the human body.
The USA is like an aging human ignoring her health, and instead of using what money she has on doctors and medications and procedures to keep her alive and healthy, instead she spends it all on lawn flamingos and kitchen gadgets and gives the rest to the wealthy few who already have access to the best doctors and hospitals, and in the case of infrastructure, rarely travel in anything other than their private jets and helicopters.
I wonder if the Secret Service has a list of the most dangerous bridges and tunnels etc. that they avoid whenever Cheney emerges from his cave to address his faithful.
Any true “conservative” would be a staunch supporter of “conserving” not only the environment—including our native plants and trees and animals etc., and all our natural resources, as well as in discovering new sources of energy etc.—but also in maintaining and improving our infrastructure, the engineering marvels that once made us the model for most nation’s futures, but now too often seem to be just crumbling monuments to a past that is quickly becoming the history of a nation’s decline.