Wednesday, August 8, 2007
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?