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Guest Post: Government And Collapsed Bridges

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by James E. Miller of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada,

The recent collapse of a small commuter bridge in Washington has brought back memories of Minnesota. Back in August of 2007, the I-35W Mississippi bridge connecting the Downtown East and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods plummeted to the river below like a Chinese-made sofa. Thirteen individuals lost their lives while 145 escaped with injury. The suddenness of the debacle was met with the blunt response system of the state. That is, politicians in Minnesota and elsewhere went before the public to decry the deteriorating condition of government infrastructure across the country. A flurry of taxpayer money dedicated to overhauling the nation’s bridges followed. Five years after millions in tax dollars were fleeced, allocated, and distributed to this new urgency, less than two dozen of the state’s 172 “structurally deficient” bridges have been made whole.

The total failure to provide safe infrastructure, especially in the aftermath of a tragedy, would be comical if it were not so representative of the ineptness of state action. If there is one thing government officials are good at, it’s going forth with failed plans while convincing themselves, and voters, that this time will be different. Following the Interstate 5 bridge collapse in Washington, the same calls to action are being issued in spite of a non-failure in the bridge design itself. Former yes-man and advisor to the President David Axelrod attempted to blame Republicans in Congress for a reluctance to spend on infrastructure investment – as if the second half of the statist party coin ever harbored a desire to tame the District’s portly appetite for wasting tax revenue. Axelrod, being a professional opportunist, was not going to let a good crisis go to political waste; a tactic he undoubtedly learned from his White House comrade in debauchery Rahm Emanuel.

Proponents of sprawling public work projects such as bridges have been apt to cite to latest scorecard from the American Society of Civilian Engineers – a report which always happens to portray the country’s infrastructure as nearing a communist-like collapse. The latest inspection in 2012 revealed the U.S. is home to least 150,000 structurally deficient bridges. In the few years I have followed the ASCE’s annual checkup, I have yet to see bright and optimistic grading. The diagnosis consistently falls somewhere between neglectful euthanasia and deliberate homicide. The string of bridge collapses plays right into the hand of the century old association. It’s never a point of suspicion for liberals that the professional body’s membership, who are predominantly employed constructing or fixing government infrastructure, would have a vested interest in wringing more money from susceptible politicians. The ASCE’s siren call is filled with everything repugnant to the Progressive mindset: profit motive, corruption, undermining of public trust. That’s all dismissed with contemplation of tangible benefits provided by government funding.

Talk of public infrastructure projects ignites the thoughts of state apologists who dedicate their career to advancing a creeping despotism. The effect on the rest of the public is much lesser. Bridges, roads, sewer systems, and the like are accepted functions of the state. But therein lies the rub: little praise is given for an expected service. The foundational elements of civilized and commercial society remain hidden, in a sense, to greater recognizability. In other words, we expect our toilets to remove waste and electricity to come with the flick of a switch. Except in the absence of function, attention is diverted elsewhere. The core component of democracy that` makes it workable political philosophy is wrong – voters are not considerate or far-thinking. They demand instant gratification. That helps explain why politicians, in their capacity as crowd charmers, dedicate little time and even fewer resources to keeping government infrastructure in pristine shape. As former New York City mayor Ed Koch liked to say, “It’s hard to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new sewer line.”

Even with the less-than-glorifying esteem that comes with respooling electrical wire, the state maintains an iron-tight grip on commercial infrastructure for a reason. Monopoly control equates to societal power – nothing more or less. The free, voluntary transactions of individuals is without a doubt the best means to ensure an efficient use of resources. Ports, roadways, drainage systems, and bridges have all been provided for by the private economy. In government form, they provide a benefit; one which comes at the expense of an undetermined number of wrongs. As essayist Frank Chodorov wrote, “If we get any­thing for the taxes we pay it is not because we want it; it is forced on us.”

It can’t be said for sure if the I-35W Mississippi bridge was left in private hands, maintenance and upkeep would have been performed more regularly. I would wager my money on the profit spell, acting as a driving force to preserve quality. The theory of collectivism relies on the unsteady moral conscience of leadership. Capitalism rests only on the material desire for more. The former requiring more virtue than the latter, it would be wiser to put one’s faith in that which does not demand the all-knowing hubris of central planners.

In any service, the government has achieved the perfect deal. When a private entity fails at meeting consumer desire (or its negligence results in death), a drop in income and market share follows. When the faultiness of a state product is revealed, more money is requested to atone for the deficiency. Success for failure is a perverse incentive – all the more fitting for the government’s wheelhouse of inconsistencies such as “destroy to save” or “fascism to save the free market.”

Being the state iconoclast that I am, I find myself split between admiration for industrial feats and loathing for the dank, unscrupulous actions which cemented the wonder on fertile ground. It can be captivating to gaze upon a bridge spanning the length of a tumultuous river – a demonstration of man’s capacity to overcome the Earth’s obstacles and create his own future. Witnessing mammoths of concrete, steel, and calculated texture is humbling. The intricacies of meticulously crafted metal enveloped among stalactitic, concrete protrusions make for a web of human engineering that cannot begin to be understood by the layman. The knowledge necessary to erect such a structure has been kept and passed down for centuries. Its dissemination is a human achievement ranking among the great architectural undertakings.

The bridge is really a connector of civilization. Without it, the flourishing of the division of labor would be heavily constrained. The wilderness in remote parts of the Earth would remain untamed. It is certainly true that industrial structures that cultivate mobility have been used for campaigns of aggression and invasion, namely by militaries. But I have never been a fan of laying blame on technological innovation for enrapturing the destructive tendencies of man. Responsibility flows from human free will. The objects created by the employment of mind and labor are incapable of volition, and thus outside the bounds of being moral agents.

Indispensability is all the more reason to remove the state’s unprofitable hand from infrastructure investment such as bridge building. Enough economists have brought attention to the inability of government bureaucrats to utilize pricing signals in an effective manner. Public works projects often serve to enrich well-connected interest groups, with actual serviceability being a secondary concern.  Here’s hoping to the quick rehabilitating of the Interstate 5 bridge in Washington, and to the broadspread realization of the perversion government has on such endeavors.


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Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:40 | 3606281 tsx500
tsx500's picture


Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:48 | 3606298 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

moral hazard meets sovereign immunity

they have a baby named bridge collapse

don't dare call it ugly


Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:58 | 3606323 MiguelitoRaton
MiguelitoRaton's picture

The bridge was struck by a truck that exceeded the maximum allowed height...other than that, you may be right...

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:07 | 3606345 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

I stand corrected

there is also the kind of moral hazard in driving a truck that can cause damage you can never ever possibly pay for


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:14 | 3606357 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

"small commuter bridge in WA"?

That would be Interstate 5 and six lanes wide. WTF is he talking about? That is the main north-south arterial on the entire West Coast US.

71K vehicles a day cross that bridge.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:04 | 3606417 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Seemed pretty short and small to me.


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:11 | 3606421 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

some conspiracy theorists claim that the video shows trusses in freefall

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:16 | 3606426 knukles
knukles's picture

Need to repair the bridges shit after Minnesota just resulted in a waste of money... not shit went to repairing bridges...
It's the standard gubamint yelling "Wolf!"
Just like Sequester.

Same thing about 20 years ago.  Remember this one (longer ago than many you youngin's) the Great Black Death... Sickle Cell Anemia. 
Nothing was ever done with all the money spent, and nobody died.


Like vaccines.
Like the Wars on Poverty, Drugs, Terror, whateverthefuck

Fucking wasteland this is... fucking wasteland

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 02:04 | 3606477 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

Sure.  Yet we have bridges to nowhere in Alaska.  Political power is rampant.  And the Japanese at least got infrastructure out of their binge on spending.   All our money went to banker bonuses.   Where's the justice?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 04:19 | 3606554 Acet
Acet's picture

This article is pretty much a mad-man slanted rant.

Saying that the string of bridge failings fell right into the hands of the civil engineers society that has been trying to warn about it is like saying that a string of deaths fell right into the hands of the chemists society that were trying to warn that it was poisonous.

Maybe, just maybe, the reason why the civil engineers' reports always make dire reading is because the reality on the field IS dire!? And maybe, just maybe, the reason why it is so is that nowadays the US spends far, far, far more money in needless pork, bank bailouts and imperialistic military ventures than in essential infrastructure!?

If there is one thing more infuriating that seeing that the guys giving the warnings were right is seeing the refuseniks that will even deny the reality. What's next, blame the dead!???


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 04:40 | 3606562 malikai
malikai's picture

He's not saying that.

He's illustrating the creeping nature of the state via it's own fuckups.

If you haven't already, check out this book by James Scott: Seeing Like a State. It's a great way to explore the subject of creeping statism. In particular the cause/effect of central planning.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:21 | 3606618 Acet
Acet's picture

No two people have the same opinion on where the border lies on "where your rights stop and my rights start".

Plenty of economic activities out there are prone to the Tragedy of the Commons, the Prisioners Dilema or a miriad of other Games Theory problems where if all individuals are left to follow their own selfish interests, either a shared resource is destroyed or something that would be good for everybody never gets done.


This is why any successfull society that grows enough to survive destruction at the handes of neighbouring societies has some form of central authority that is responsible for deciding and enforcing rulings on conflicts between men and organising and controlling at least some communal actions.


So some State is needed. The problem is that the State is made up of people and people are greedy, corrupt and power-hungry, so a system has to exist to reduced the abuses of those who yield the responsabilities of the State.

Fighting the notion of State, rather than the corruption of the individuals who yield the power of the State, is like tearing down a House because it has mice, rather than killing the mice.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:52 | 3606636 malikai
malikai's picture

EDIT: Make it easy.

I think we've got termites, not mice. We've had them for years. It appears that the termites have somehow formed their own structure, but it is crumbling at the core. The foundation still looks good, though, being a nice reinforced concrete slab. I think we should try to salvage that.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:08 | 3606681 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture




Send me in coach.......I'm shovel ready!!!

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:58 | 3606783 Debt-Is-Not-Money
Debt-Is-Not-Money's picture

"...I'm shovel ready!!!"

Would you be the shoveler or the shovelee?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:50 | 3606767 akarc
akarc's picture

It's already here. The people are getting what they have and have been voting for.  Inmy neighborhood you let somebody take your wallet one time, they will come back and take it again. And again, and again........ We have no one to blame but ourselves.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 08:02 | 3606797 malikai
malikai's picture

At least a pickpocket has the decency to give you a chance to kick the shit out of him.

The owners and pals pick your pocket from afar and command your obedience, whether you know it or not.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:16 | 3606427 Ignatius
Ignatius's picture

I lived/worked in Seattle.  This is a BIG deal.  There are few alternate routes to handle this traffic efficiently.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 09:46 | 3607153 Kayman
Kayman's picture

Drive over it.  You might appear short and small.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:19 | 3606367 Quantum Nucleonics
Quantum Nucleonics's picture

The truck was issued an oversized permit by the State of WA to travel that section of I-5 even though the vehicle's height exceeded the bridge's maximum clearence.  

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:16 | 3606424 Supernova Born
Supernova Born's picture

The truck would have easily passed under the arched trusses if it would have driven in the center of the roadway as is permissible for permitted "wide loads" with pilot cars.

Driver error, not gooberment in this case.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:35 | 3606451 robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:13 | 3606359 SAT 800
SAT 800's picture

I want to know if it was a Mexican Truck brought here by Silly Billy's Nafta.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 03:34 | 3606534 Bring the Gold
Bring the Gold's picture

And driven by driver's that Bush made sure could come here. Don't worry it's equal opportunity for BOTH globalist parties D AND R.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:38 | 3606577 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

No, it was from Alberta. A Canadian truck, running amuck. And yes, it was moving oil drilling equipment to Vancouver, WA, and that probably was because of NAFTA.

This is one of those trestle bridges with the 40s look. Less clearance at the shoulder than in the middle. You have to drive an oversize load in the middle lane or the middle of both lanes to clear the slanty overhead beams along the sides.

Driver didn't do that. He saw the first section crashing down right behind him in the rearview mirror as he hauled ass across the bridge.

This implies that the impact of the trailer started a resonance in the bridge structure that gave it a second or two to decide whether it was going to collapse or not. Kind of like Wile E. Coyote taking a pause before gravity sucks him down into the ravine.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 09:49 | 3607158 Kayman
Kayman's picture

It was Mullen Trucking.  A $2.5 billion dollar company. And they say the driver has hauled oversized loads down I5 previously. Seems odd...

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:45 | 3606760 akarc
akarc's picture

A collapsed bridge by any other name is still a collapsed bridge bubba

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:23 | 3606374 markettime
markettime's picture

Bridge collapses, bullish for the DJIA! 

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 08:51 | 3606972 venturen
venturen's picture


Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:48 | 3606284 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

So stay off our fucking bridges, then.  For fuck's sake, have you heard of the Brooklyn?  I've got a good price for you.

Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:44 | 3606288 sitenine
sitenine's picture

Meh. The Keynesian utility of a failed bridge to stimulate the economy far outweighs the usefulness of the bridge anyway. No, seriously - I talked to Krugman about it, and he agrees 100%.

Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:45 | 3606292 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

it aint about "fixing" amerika any more...It's about getting your snout as deep into the tax trough as possible before it all goes tits up....get your crony on y'allz!

Larry Summers on deck after the Bernanke....all is well

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 02:32 | 3606495 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

..or that cuntrag Janet "Smellin Yellen"...the female Larry SummersEve

Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:46 | 3606294 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

Get rid of Davis-Bacon Act and it's labor price-setting collusion and infrastructure repair will get a hell of a lot cheaper. Don't forget all of the AFSCME govt DOT incompetence thrown in.

Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:48 | 3606299 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

yeah, we got all the mexicans we need!! Let's get amerika (er, mexico) working again!!!!!!!

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:00 | 3606320 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

So some Local 150 shithead driving a vibratory asphalt roller DESERVES $50 an hour + another $25 in benis? Fuck-there'd be a line around the block to do it for $15 an hour. The scam is the same asshole Dems that suck up $ from the unions( who are dumb enough to keep supporting them) are the same ones that let the Mexs flood in for the votes.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:37 | 3606453 robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

fORGET mEXICANS, GET THE cHINESE, OPPS, Get the Chinese here to rebuild the country. They'd have that bridge rebuilt in 36 hours and all for under 50k.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:42 | 3606750 akarc
akarc's picture

Dat be's true cause it weren't none of dem sugarcane, orange, lettuce, tobacco, you name it field owners what wanted no beeners pickin al dem veggies and shit on the cheap so republicans and democrats could by groceries. And all dem chilluns what didn't get to go to no school cause dey be workin 10 hours a day and 7 days a week and womens what burned up in garment district fires would be so much better off if dem damned ol unions woulda just left the free market capitlistic system work. China knows better than to let unions have so much control. They insures lots of peoples gets to work cause by 30 their workers are disabled by repetitive motion injuries so mericans can git an Iphone 5 dollars cheaper and dat apple peoples don't need to pay no taxes.


THE SCAM IS: the same ol Koch/cock brother shills who have yet to realize their ass was SCAMMED by hate fueled propaganda designed to keep the fat cats drinking cream while you eat shit!

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:05 | 3606324 Monedas
Monedas's picture

The United States of Bacon with Todd Fisher as your rolly, polly host !    I've never seen a "Chinese made sofa" collapse into a river ?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:20 | 3606369 Quantum Nucleonics
Quantum Nucleonics's picture

Yep, that's what they did when the Northridge earthquake took out the Santa Monica Freeway in LA.  It was finished months early and millions under budget.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 10:15 | 3607282 tango
tango's picture

Otto skorzeny

Good comment but the real solution is common sense.  If you want something done correctlyy on time use one of those hard-nosed no-nonsense guys who are not beholden to bureaucrats, political correctness or politics.   Develop a master plan, use private companies (not those schooled in government inefficiency) and you will get the job done.   The head of the Hoover Dam was given free rein and with the six contractors finished ahead of time.  Same is true for the San Fran interstate rebuild after the earthquake. 

It's what successful companies do so why shouldn't governments do it also?  (I know, I know)

Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:50 | 3606304 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

at least if it's owned by the private sector we'll know who to arrest. no one cares. Interstate 5 is not some "backwater" either.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:03 | 3606667 duo
duo's picture

If electricity had been in the hands of private companies from day one, our farmers and rural areas still wouldn't have electricity, and our cities would look like Port Au Prince.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 09:26 | 3607089 Abaco
Abaco's picture

More likely that if you hadn't pissed billions away with the Rural Electrification Administration and other monopolies and subsidies you would have more cost effective alternative energy sources including solar, wind, micro-hydro, fuel cell, etc. and much broader wireless coverage out in the less densely populated areas.  Similarly, if the government hadn't interfered with the market and subsidized the development of the interstate highway system we would have a much more efficient and less energy intensive transportation system.

Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:51 | 3606307 Spitzer
Spitzer's picture

Euro vs dollar

ECB's purchases are 3.5% of euro area GDP, for FED its 22.1% of USA GDP, for BOE its 26.3% of England's GDP and for BOJ its 37.3% of Japan's GDP.

Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:54 | 3606312 q99x2
q99x2's picture

400 people have taken the money. Got to go after them.

Tue, 05/28/2013 - 23:58 | 3606325 FreeMktFisherMN
FreeMktFisherMN's picture

another good article debunking the whole idea that there are 'some things only .gov can do'. In a free society people would voluntarily pitch in for things and would have private insurance and private militias and they'd have direct skin in the game. 

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:20 | 3606370 Strut
Strut's picture

I'm  all for "direct skin" in this game, but what would our interstate highway system look like if it was hacked together by small communities across the nation? How might have WWII turned out?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:19 | 3606431 knukles
knukles's picture

Thinking that way the Axis powers woulda never got their shit together, either....

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:33 | 3606450 Strut
Strut's picture

You missed the point. The Axis weren't exactly private militias.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:23 | 3606437 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

The questions should be: What would the interstate highway system be like if it were private?

And: Would WWII have occurred if the US stayed out of WWI?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:45 | 3606458 Strut
Strut's picture

1. My guess would be tolls everywhere, if a non-corporate entity could even use them... because that's who'd own them by now. Guess what happens if your a competitor??

2. Nope, WWI would have continued on to destroy the US and its "private militias".

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:28 | 3606585 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


I'm  all for "direct skin" in this game, but what would our interstate highway system look like if it was hacked together by small communities across the nation? How might have WWII turned out?

Non sequitur.

The interstate highway system was a project of the Eisenhower administration.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 09:27 | 3607092 Abaco
Abaco's picture

It would look like a highly developed rail system

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:14 | 3606694 akarc
akarc's picture

And the private militias would steal land from the Indians and fight over water rights and children would learn their ABC's in Catholic missions.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:00 | 3606327 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

Oh fuck, James Miller is back.

I thought we were done with this ass-clown?

Dude looks (and writes) like he hasn't spent a lick of time outside of a classroom.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:00 | 3606328 patb
patb's picture

tyler says:

"In the few years I have followed the ASCE’s annual checkup, I have yet to see bright and optimistic grading"

Um, Tyler, many of the bridges in the US were built in the 1930s as part of the New Deal and many of the Interstate bridges were built in the 50's and 60's as part of Ike's plan and LBJs Great society.  These bridges have been aging and since the 1970's fewer people have wanted to pay the taxes for a nationwide reset of these.  


The politicians have been kicking the can and very few full scale replacements have been done.

As for having the private sector manage bridges?  Hm, Let's look at private sector bridges. What are the tolls for these?

about 5 X the price of public sector bridges.

I've been on the Isle of Skye bridge, the locals were really PO'd about how much it cost.


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:07 | 3606343 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

"fewer people have wanted to pay the taxes"- shit-my stingy middle class ass only paying 65% of my income in some form of tax or fee to the govt-sign me up to pay more

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:21 | 3606433 knukles
knukles's picture


They gots way more than enough revenues to fix the shit right now.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:27 | 3606624 Acet
Acet's picture

I'm afraid that your hard-earned dollars are needed to kill brown people in oil producing countries (and to pay the 20 or 30 layers of parasites in and around the military) and thus are not available for infrastructure maintenance in the US.


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 11:55 | 3607643 patb
patb's picture

Stop voting for a permanent military-industrial complex and start voting for a better country.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 11:55 | 3607644 patb
patb's picture

Stop voting for a permanent military-industrial complex and start voting for a better country.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:31 | 3606445 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

It looks like that it was a public-private partnership that both sides screwed up royally.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:01 | 3606330 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture


$85 Billion a month of FED jizz to Wall Street doesn't build bridges and roads?

WTF is going on here!?!?


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:21 | 3606435 knukles
knukles's picture

That should not be sarc, dude, but a serious question before the house.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 02:10 | 3606486 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

One word, eb.  Priorities.  The financial and political priorities do not match the public priorities.

Simple as that.

We just want a safe way to get to work and they want the money that it would take to provide that in their pockets.   They win... for now.

They have their greedy hands around the neck of the goose that is laying the golden eggs.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:14 | 3606579 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

There's a lot more money to be made directly (right of way acquisition and construction costs) and indirectly (real estate development) by building new roads than can ever come from fixing the ones we already have.

Since government answers to the highest bidder, I fail to see why there is so much confusion on why they don't fix the roads and bridges.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:23 | 3606712 akarc
akarc's picture

Helicopter sales are up

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:02 | 3606332 syntaxterror
syntaxterror's picture

Another Shovel-Ready project my bitches!

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:06 | 3606340 WTFUD
WTFUD's picture

Cut DEFENCE spend by 50% and retrain redundant forces & unemployed & students for community based structure builds.
The Pork would diminish as a by product.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:20 | 3606582 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

We keep forgetting about the millions of 'civilian' jobs that would be lost if the Untied Snakes hacked the war budget in half. Every state in the nation is filled with jobs building stuff that keeps the choppers in the air, the tanks rolling, the ships sailing and the troops trooping. Somebody has to make the zippers for the uniforms. Somebody else has to build the Humvees.

Our economy is so beholden to 'pork' from these civilian military support jobs that the whole place would pack it in if the country had a sensible war budget. There would literally be hundreds of thousands, more likely millions of layoffs if this budget was cut in half.

This is not to say that the never ending wars are a good idea. But the US war economy apple is so full of maggots now that the apple skin would collapse if we killed the maggots.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:10 | 3606687 akarc
akarc's picture

Great analogy. Also great reason to trash the apple.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 09:21 | 3607072 swmnguy
swmnguy's picture

If we cut the military budget in half, and spent the same amount of money on infrastructure, those millions of "civilians" would at least be doing something productive.  All those "jobs building stuff that keeps the choppers in the air, the tanks rolling, the ships sailing and the troops trooping...mak[ing] the zippers for the uniforms...bulid[ing] the Humvees" are the functional equivalent of digging holes and filling them back up again.  What have you got to show for it?  If the same money were spent rebuilding our infrastructure, we'd at least have roads and bridges that worked.

And, actually, we'd spend a whole lot less after the first few years, and be able to utilize the new assets for truly productive enterprises.  But that would imply a functioning capitalist system, rather than the economic strip-mining that's all we have left today.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 09:51 | 3607160 Crtrvlt
Crtrvlt's picture

and a more productive use of resources


Considering overall job creation, we see from Table 1 that military spending creates about 11,600 with $1 billion in spending. By a significant amount, this is  the fewest number of jobs of any of the alternative uses of funds that we present. Thus, household consumption generates about 14,800 jobs, 28 percent more than military spending. Clean energy generates about 17,100 jobs, (48 percent more than military) and health care generates about 19,600 jobs (69 percent more than the military). Spending on education is the largest source of job creation by a substantial amount, generating about 29,100 jobs overall through $1 billion in spending, which is 151 percent more than the number of jobs that are generated through $1 billion in military spending infrastructure investment spending will create about 18,000 total jobs for every  $1 billion in new investment spending, including direct, indirect, and induced jobs.


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:06 | 3606342 HyperLazy
HyperLazy's picture

I drove over that I-35W bridge while they were working on it several days before it collapsed. They had at least four sections of lane concrete busted up with the underlying rebar completely exposed and unsupported. Fact of the matter is, the rebar can't do its job without the surrounding concrete span material. They blamed a gusset plate for the collapse. So yeah, take away the support and the gusset plates took all the stress until one popped.

Absolutely shameful.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:04 | 3606416 yogibear
yogibear's picture

It reminds me of the hobos that were stealing the bricks from a house to sell until they pulled the supporting  bricks and  the rest of the house collapsed on top of them

Real smart.


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:21 | 3606583 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Is this the House of Representatives you're speaking of?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:15 | 3606363 Quantum Nucleonics
Quantum Nucleonics's picture

Eh, "small commuter bridge"?... It's the main link between Seattle and Vancouver, BC - two of the largest cities in the US and Canada respectively.  Interstate 5 is the principal freeway linking the entire US west coast.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:16 | 3606365 garcam123
garcam123's picture


Intellect is a rare gift.  I can't say I've been overwhelmed by it here, but I would say that you have the gift and stated your view perfectly and I concur 100%.

I would offer that independently supervised contractors and engineers evaluste bridges that they have no chance of working on review the state of our infrastructure and post peer reviewed evalustions of the state of said bridges and those with confirmable failures or faults be bid to per reviewed small contractors to repair and have the cost or repairs spread throughout the user community like a wave with the highes concentrations of support in the spreading center, if you will, imagine a stone in a pond, with some of the costs borne by the perifirie (spell) of potential users.

All of this would be publically available for review and corrupton could be punishable by death or castration with a rusty knife of something.

However, thank you for your clear, reasoned piece!

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:29 | 3606382 Strut
Strut's picture

Why should I pay for a bridge, even though I live by it, if i only live and do buisness on this side of the river?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:51 | 3606402 Quantum Nucleonics
Quantum Nucleonics's picture

Because if you don't, Lois Lerner, IRS superagent, is going to drag you to the middle of it and toss you off it chained and gaged into the icy waters below.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:16 | 3606428 Strut
Strut's picture

Oh! The same reason I have to pay for someone's fucking kids to go to school, even though I was smart enough not to have any... And why my health insurance is so high because my premiums go to paying for the fuckers that think they can roll the dice, but end up praying for their lives after learning they have a now terminal desease that could have been cured if they'd visited a doctor years ago... And why my homeowners went up 33% even though the fucking house value dropped 25%, all because some other dumb asses want to live 10' below sea level, or think that a 100 year flood plain is safe since it hasen't flooded in 120 years...

We will rebuild... We are a resilent people...

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:25 | 3606440 knukles
knukles's picture

Ah.... yes.

My daughter within the past several years graduated college and has embarked upon her life of freedom from mom and dad's oppression, fielding her own way financially.

She's aghast at the taxes she pays, doesn't see shit in return, thinks current DC is a buncha Communists and voted for Ron Paul.


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:29 | 3606586 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

Oh Christ, not again.

Sending kids to school is not for your benefit, and probably not for theirs either. Nations in the developled world educate their kids so they can have an industrial base for their economy. Reading, writing, 'rithmatic, that sort of foolishness. We all need people who have been schooled. Whether it's so they can fill out a prescription, punch the right check box on your car repair ticket or take your order at the local greasy spoon, we'd be hosed without educating the masses. And this even applies to those among us who are too ugly or otherwise repulsive to have found a spawning partner.

Without an educated populace you don't have a modern economy, you have the third world. Or worse, you have the comments found below any postings by James Earwig Miller.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:30 | 3606627 Optimusprime
Optimusprime's picture

Education is not a state responsibility.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:53 | 3606654 B2u
B2u's picture

Get rid of the Department of Education.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:07 | 3606678 akarc
akarc's picture

Education is a National imperative. Social indoctrination designed to produce a dumbed down electorate with high self esteem is not. 

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 11:58 | 3607654 patb
patb's picture

you don't need homeowners insurance, just pay your mortgage off.



Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:08 | 3606683 akarc
akarc's picture

Maybe you should advertise on the other side of the river

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 09:29 | 3607102 Abaco
Abaco's picture

Imagine punctuation.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 00:59 | 3606412 AgLand
AgLand's picture

Not a small commuter bridge. It was 1/2 of the I-5 corridor between Canda and the West Coast of the US. Losing this bridge on the west coast is like losing an interstate bridge over the Mississippi when it comes to commerce. It's a huge dent to the local economy.

And the bridge was taken out by a truck carrying a drilling rig out of Canada. It appears the pilot car driver, who had a height pole that must have struck the bridge, failed to alert the truck driver.


Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:31 | 3606588 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

I've seen way to many of those useless pilot car drivers driving BEHIND the load on my usual trips along I-5.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:25 | 3606439 mharry
mharry's picture

The problem with government is they spend the money to hire bureaucrats to sit around and stew about the problem. Instead of hiring contractors to actually fix it, they hire people to do studies of the problem, when the solution is already known and they sit back drinking coffee, taking taxpayer funded junkets and partying.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:26 | 3606442 knukles
knukles's picture

You must be from California.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:54 | 3606469 Bobportlandor
Bobportlandor's picture

Keep going...and pay 3x the cost a private person would pay.

22 million people who don't give a fig when it comes to spending your money as long as they get their check.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 02:07 | 3606482 Strut
Strut's picture

22 million people don't give a fuck because the chips are stacked against them at every turn. You're basicly saying "fuck that battered wife, she should have left the first time he hit her."

I think its wrong to blame your "sheeple" when you know the game is rigged, and has been all these folks life. What do you propose to fix it?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:31 | 3606446 robertocarlos
robertocarlos's picture

Wow I did not remember that 13 died and that 145 managed to escape death. That is sad

The way it was explained this time is the bridge was curved so the pilot car pole might not have hit the bridge but the edge of the wideload did hit the bridge. It might be an error from the system. The highway dept gives the clearance but can't be sure it is correct. It's a totally stupid system and they are lucky there were no deaths. 

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:39 | 3606452 Hacksaw
Hacksaw's picture

I have an idea, let's privatize Congress and the White house. I bet we could get some Indonesians to make decisions for what to do in the US for about 5 bucks a day each. Wouldn't have to pay for a Cadillac health care program or retirement for them either. We could have them hold sessions in some rat trap that's falling down around their ears and sell the White house and Capitol building to Apple or GE.

Man, think about all the money we could save. Just privatize it all and I'd bet we could get that corporate tax rate down to -10% or so. Just think of how competitive we'd be if we could pay corporations to come here to use all that private infrastructure. We could even change the name from USA to CSA (Corporate States of America). The crackers would love it, the South will rise again and all that BS.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:43 | 3606590 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

You're a little late, but your comments are on the money.

Privatization of the government is what results in its current form, FASCISM.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:49 | 3606647 akarc
akarc's picture

Bingo and up 1000. We have no government by the people and for the people. We have a kleptocratic government/corporate alliance that trickles down to every backwater municipality in the country. Nothing can get down anymore without out paying boo coo administrative and permit fees to the "right" people.

Want to build a wheel chair ramp for an individual to get in his home? Go pull a permit, get plans approved, have it inspected. This on paid for property where he pays numerous taxes for services he does not or never has used. 

Developer builds a nieghborhood around hog farm that has been in location for years. People buy the homes, move in and realize, Hog Farms stink. Answer, go after the Hog Farmer, shut him down.

Rich folk buy homes on barier islands. Roads, electrical, gas lines, bridges installed, storm comes and blows it all away. Insurance goes up for everybody, Federal disaster funds come from everybody. Even the freakin Indians knew better than to build on a barrier island.

Rode out to northern end of the county the other day. Humongous new "plantations. Why at least 10 of them with new state funded road.  Southern end still has whole neighborhoods of folks riding on dirt roads. At least occasionally run over by a county grader.

Replaced existing power pole for a friend as per power company specs and instructions. Power company goes to hit the juice. County says oh no didn't pull permit for a power pole that already existed. So it's an extra 100 just cause ya didn't. Also got to have electrician scope it out. Electrician says everything fine. But got to charge you 150 for driving out to look at it and sign paper. Made no changes to power pole. But after paying the appropriate local "representatives" power company flips switch.

Welcome to the land of the free.



Wed, 05/29/2013 - 09:17 | 3607058 machineh
machineh's picture

'I bet we could get some Indonesians to make decisions for what to do in the US for about 5 bucks a day each.'

How can you expect President Obama to work for '5 bucks a day'?

He's got a fambly to support.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 01:58 | 3606472 WTFUD
WTFUD's picture

Not feeling much love beyween ya'll on here folks! The 50% Defence spend equates to $1.5 trillion and your murderous slimey politicos and banksters could continue their favourite pastime bombing mountains in Yemen etc with impunity!
A stitch (bolt) in time saves 9 bridges down the road.
Hi speed las vegas rail links for Mr Reid will not get Amerika back on its feet.
SOLUTIONS not bickering amongst each other is the order of the day. March into those plush offices of your local gov. retards and scare their lazy arses.
Real jobs, lots of them prioritising.
Do the rest of the world a favour as when America farts we come out in tiny rabbit droppings.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 02:02 | 3606475 Bobportlandor
Bobportlandor's picture

Go take a look at the pictures notice the rust on that bridge. At each location of rust the metal is either bent or was twisted.

Also notice where the upper cord broke. Yea maybe a truck hit it, but what brought it down was rust.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 02:10 | 3606487 BaggaDonuts
BaggaDonuts's picture

I live in WA state and one of my good friends is a bridge inspector for the DOT.  He has inspected this bridge many times.  He said that bridges like this aren't designed to withstand an impact from big trucks, and that's simply what happened in this case.  This could happen anywhere in the country.  But, there's not really a whole lot you could expect that could be done.  A huge truck hit the support beam.  The bridge could have been in better shape, but I don't think this means our highway infrastructure is crumbling.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 08:24 | 3606872 espirit
espirit's picture

You really are naïve, aren't you?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 11:50 | 3607624 patb
patb's picture

modern bridges are designed to handle single point failure.  a single vehicle strike shouldn't knock

down a bridge.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 02:30 | 3606493 DymanicDoug
DymanicDoug's picture

What a bloviated blowhard you are James......that bridge dropped because it was hit in the right spot...not even very hard...North bound side still waiting for the right hit...when it was erected in the freekin 50's they were cheap FRAGILE crappy pieces of shit...take a good look at that thing...around here we wonder if the bridges taking all the I-5 traffic will live through the next evolution of deciet and politics which that crappy bridge was a direct product from the 1950's ...the new name TIM EYMAN MEMORIAL BRIDGE is getting real traction... jackasss

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 02:32 | 3606496 dunce
dunce's picture

Hundreds of bridges have been replaced over the last 20 years that were not structurally deficient, they were just too small and 60, 70 to 80 years old. Removing them took great effort because they were very well built. If they had been structurally deficient they would not have lasted so long. Recently constructed bridges are falling down like drunks on St Patrick's day.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 02:36 | 3606500 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

Let's do it Obamacunt's way...


"Hey didn't build that bridge bitch......someone else did. Let's blame them - and scam them for the money to....


oh wait....


FUCK.....spark up another choom bro...."

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 03:03 | 3606510 Hobbleknee
Hobbleknee's picture

Of course all bridges must be declared structurally deficient.  To say otherwise would require accountability when they fail.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 04:13 | 3606552 RazvanM
RazvanM's picture

But, but, defense spending saves jobs!!! The banking industry is the foundation of a flourishing economy.

It was something completely imprevisible. Nobody would expect this to happend. We should stick together and support the Government in these temporary hard times. "Yes we can!"

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:15 | 3606580 widget
widget's picture

"Without government, who would build all the failing bridges?"

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:35 | 3606593 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

The same private contractors who have been building them for the last 60 years.

Sun, 06/02/2013 - 00:43 | 3617699 PT
PT's picture

Dr Sandi:  "The same private contractors ..."

+1 000 000

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:58 | 3606660 akarc
akarc's picture

Why the Bankers of course. 

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:58 | 3606661 akarc
akarc's picture

Why the Bankers of course. 

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:19 | 3606581 viator
viator's picture

Don't worry after they finish up with the bridges they are going to get right to work on your health care.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 05:35 | 3606592 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

That also appears to be structurally deficient and will end up costing millions of lives.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 09:20 | 3607068 machineh
machineh's picture

And is severely at risk from all the oversized loads it has to carry.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 11:16 | 3607501 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Is that a Wal-Mart joke?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:49 | 3606610 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

"Five years after millions in tax dollars were fleeced, allocated, and distributed to this new urgency, less than two dozen of the state’s 172 “structurally deficient” bridges have been made whole."

Govt, 2,000 years of fleecing society, the biggest criminal scum/racket in history

time for change

Zero Govt ...faster the better for 99% of us ...other 1%, bwankers and politicians, can go hang ...their heads/from a tree (tick as you see appropriate)

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:09 | 3606611 lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

"Bill, that last bridge you boys built did not last too long. I want a larger kickback on this new one."

"Sure, Commissioner."

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:46 | 3606643 Racer
Racer's picture

Now if the bridge had been a gun.....

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 06:59 | 3606653 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

...and don't forget the ammo

9x bullets for every American citizen, Homeland Security has all the terrorists in the good ol' US of A covered 9x over now

Thank fuck for that, these security guys State terror efforts really warm the cockles of your heart with their extreme paranoid delusional over-kill policy

Glad the loony bins have all the sociopathic psycho's locked up ...cough, they didn't all escape and get Govt jobs at Homeland Security did they? ...just asking!!!

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:01 | 3606664 nmewn
nmewn's picture

...the bridge would have been forced into a background check and closed to traffic for a cooling off period?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:01 | 3606663 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Good 'american' articles.
The bridge is really a connector of civilization. Without it, the flourishing of the division of labor would be heavily constrained. The wilderness in remote parts of the Earth would remain untamed.

'Americans' to overcome the environment...

It is certainly true that industrial structures that cultivate mobility have been used for campaigns of aggression and invasion, namely by militaries. But I have never been a fan of laying blame on technological innovation for enrapturing the destructive tendencies of man. Responsibility flows from human free will. The objects created by the employment of mind and labor are incapable of volition, and thus outside the bounds of being moral agents.

Objects are designed with an intent.

As per article, 'americans' are much more talented to design certain objects fitting certain intents.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:15 | 3606696 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous the omnifecator said:

Objects are designed with an intent.

As per article, 'americans' are much more talented to design certain objects fitting certain intents.

Ah, ah, much like Chinese citizenism citizens design roadsides for their public bowel emptying convenience. What a nice.

The 'AnAnonymystical' world order really bears a culture of stench.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:20 | 3606707 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Again the 'american' art of comparison.

Maybe more on how self immolation by fire is the same as an army using chemical weapons to gas people?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:31 | 3606729 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Incredible. Let me guess: another Chinese citizenism citizen who thinks he deserves every single cent he makes. Woaooo, baffling.

'AnAnonymystical' guros are so full of it. Can't tell words without sinking into cheap propaganda. Tibetans already observed it and I now better understand the torment they suffer at the hands of Chinese citizenism citizens.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 07:10 | 3606688 RottenAlpha
RottenAlpha's picture
Wed, 05/29/2013 - 08:01 | 3606791 Hail Spode
Hail Spode's picture

Roads are public works because having a network of toll stations everywhere is wasteful of time and resources.  I would trust a local government that I can vote on to be in charge of my roads rather than a private corporation from China.   But notice I said LOCAL government.   Road dollars are wastefully spent because the CENTRAL government is spending too much of the money.  This brings in the old "if you are paying, I will have the Lobster" mentality.  People want more roads because they think everyone else is paying for their roads.   THAT is where the market mechansim for roads is broken.   Local governments should be in charge of the road money without having to beg the central government for it.   LOCALISM for not just roads, but almost everything.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 08:13 | 3606838 PT
PT's picture

Article sez "Monopoly control equates to societal power – nothing more or less. "  Plus blah blah blah free markets good govt bad blah blah blah, let me say something about free market efficiency:  ENRON  ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON ENRON...

You want free market efficiency?  Go ahead, let three hundred different companies build three hundred bridges in the same place and let them compete for business.  Anything else is a MONOPOLY and is no better than guvfucks.  At least, in theory, the people can vote out the guvfucks.

Now, I do understand that your guvt is going through a corrupt patch at the moment, AS IS YOUR CAPITALISTS, but answer me this:

If government is so lazy and inefficient, and free markets entrepreneurs are so innovative and efficient, THEN WHERE ARE ALL THE INNOVATIVE CAPITALISTS OFFERING A CHEAPER GOVERNMENT FOR THE MASSES???  Pay half the tax and get the you-beaut ACME no-frills government ...

No.  Free market capitalists can't offer cheaper, competing governments.  Not even on some offshore island somewhere.

Oh, hang on a minute.  Maybe I am wrong.  Do bikie gangs and the mafia qualify as "Free Market Governments"?

Actually, the capitalists who got to the top of the pile didn't bother competing.  THEY JUST BOUGHT THE BITS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT THEY NEEDED BECAUSE IT WAS EASIER.

And how did a handful of capitalists get so rich anyway?  Wasn't there some competition that made them poorer again?  Or perhaps REAL WORLD CAPITALISM is different from IDEAL CAPITALISM and IDEAL CAPITALISM DOES NOT EXIST. 
Capitalist doctrine started off okay, but ended up as dogma.  Modern capitalism is no different to a religious cult.  Just as you had impoverished "Orange People" living in squalor, while their leader drove past in one of his 97 Rolls Royces, you have little businessmen trying to be "competitive", while any business or marketing course will emphasize the importance of a "Unique Selling Proposition", or a "Unique Buying Advantage" i.e. if you want to survive in business then you have to CREATE YOUR OWN LITTLE MONOPOLY!!!

Don't get me wrong, I like capitalism.  I think its a great system.  I'm just not dumb enough to think it will solve everything.

I used to wonder how democracies devolved into fascism (apparently its part of some big cycle).  Now I know the answer is simple - big coporations just buy the government.

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 10:50 | 3607400 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Is this what being on a committee is like?

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 18:12 | 3608675 ponzisaurus
ponzisaurus's picture

Learn to swim

Sun, 06/02/2013 - 00:51 | 3617710 PT
PT's picture

ponzisaurus:  "Learn to swim"

I've read this a couple of times before I woke up to what you said.  +1
Now I feel slow ...

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