John Ameen: Collapse issues linger

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The collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis has raised many eyebrows as news coverage has revealed the questionable durability and safety of many bridges across the U.S. To clean up and replace the bridge in Minneapolis will cost upwards of $160 billion (This is obviously an extreme case).

With hundreds of other bridges in the U.S. that need repaired or replaced during the next 10 to 20 years, hundreds of billions of dollars is needed. Where will our governments get this money? Should it be federally funded? These questions bring about a larger issue.

Everyone knows about our national debt and increased government spending. With that, the public is becoming more vigilant in asking the government to solve the issues concerning the increasing costs of Social Security and health care; in addition, I believe, as an educator, the government should put forward more money to better America's schools and also reduce higher education costs. So, with this "new" safety issue of dangerous bridges, along with the aforementioned issues, where will our government get the money to solve these problems?

Now, I am all for government's spending on homeland security, border control, and especially intelligence spending. My background in history and an up-close conversation with a former deputy director of the CIA has taught me that our intelligence program is one of the most important assets to our security, not just the military. At the same time, does our government need to spend the ridiculous amount of money on our military, i.e nuclear and chemical weapons, surface-to-air missiles, and the funding of hundreds of military bases around the world? Does it make sense that our military expenditures are more than the next five countries down the list combined?

During the Cold War, our government devised a plan that wanted to contain communism and what was needed was a massive military build-up. To defeat fascism and protect our borders, the U.S. converted its industrial infrastructure into a military building machine during WWII. And in general, the way of life we have in this country (and yes, even in Steamboat) is because of our expansion and enforcement through military means. The protection of our interests abroad is necessary and the protection from terrorists on our homeland is necessary, but there is a lot of money that can be saved by reducing military production. And if a military build-up is necessary, our country's history has shown it can step up to the challenge, like in WWII (and that was over 60 years ago with now very outdated technology).

To sustain our way of life and to make sure that all Americans have basic health care, the ability to live comfortably as senior citizens, and have the best opportunity to gain an education, I believe a military spending cutback is needed.

Now, any semi-informed citizen or politician of average intelligence can argue, as I did, that these are the issues our country should focus on. I have a suggestion on what to do, but does anyone have a plan? Are we looking down the road for the solution to the issues not just at the issue? The tragedy in Minneapolis is an unpleasant reminder of what can happen when a solution is not in place for a lingering problem. What is the future for the rest of these issues?

John Ameen

Steamboat Springs

Comments

dimwitiguess 6 years, 12 months ago

Until our government cuts back on weapons production, we will always have battles around the world. What do you do with weapons that are never used? Stockpile them? No, you use them, and then, like now, you sell the rest to your future adversaries because you are building other weapons to combat those you now consider obsolete. Our weapons industry has a reason for using up the older weapons then giving the rest away to our enemies - so it can continue to build bigger and better weapons.

"No new taxes" is the theme that has created the current bridge disaster and the many more to come. How can we maintain our bridges, infrastructures, health care, social security, etc. when we aren't willing to pay for them? Why do we have more local taxes? Because state and federal legislators are not willing to raise the taxes at that level because they want reelected.

When we pour over $100 BILLION a year into the Iraqi war, how much is left for the things we need in our own country? We continue to create a reason for weapons and a reason to use them. Therefore we assure that our vital infrastructures continue to go neglected.

But then again, maybe not. I'm just a dimwitiguess.

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id04sp 6 years, 12 months ago

Friend, you surely are.

Our economy would be much stronger, and the people building the weapons would be much richer, if all that capacity was being put into domestic production and maintenance. Bridges are much cheaper than airplanes to build.

Software is the most expensive part of weapons development. Bridges don't need expensive software.

The cold war was won at the bank; the former Soviet Union went bust.

The United States could be totally self-sufficient if we wanted to. The problem is that the 99 cent pack of coat hangers made in China and sold at Wal-Mart would cost $5 if it was made somewhere in Ohio from oil pumped off the California coast.

We could have global peace (but not local peace) if the citizens of the U. S. were willing for us to destroy the war-making ability of all other nations and let them fight it out with small arms in local civil wars. Would you support that?

The people who run General Dynamics and all the rest would much rather be producing larger numbers of less expensive items, because that would provide greater profits. Most of the money that goes into weapons development is simple labor and benefits for the workforce, and the profit margins are regulated by the contract.

If you took a hard look, you would probably find that most infrastructure failures are a result of somebody in the local government taking kickbacks from the contractors, or simply from local negligence. Look at the rates paid by state highway departments, and try to figure out why any competent engineer would work for them.

All kinds of criminals make money from the taxpayers through the governments. People are crooked and predatory by nature. That's why we have wars. Weapons are just a side effect of human nature.

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OnTheBusGus 6 years, 11 months ago

Do you really think the rest of the country will "step up" to a war as they did in WWII? Most people in the US do not even feel the impact of the current "war".

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