Essayist Terrence Heath encountered the atrocious state of Washington DC infrastructure yet again -- having power outages and water main breaks in a heat wave is not fun. Many other cities have similarly aging infrastructure at a time when a lot of people could use some employment. He noted a proposal to create an Infrastructure Bank could fund such water, sewer, and electrical improvements by directing the Federal Reserve to buy bonds in these projects. Repayment would go to the Feds and not increase long-term federal debt, eliminating the current GOP rallying cry. Yet, the project died in Congress this week. This isn't the only opportunity to improve the economy (or improve our environment) that we've turned away from.
Heath wonders if we have become afraid to create jobs. We're being told that government action is a greater threat to freedom than the destitution of several million people. We're becoming a nation of helpless people and we're starting to embrace that helplessness. We're being told that government shouldn't fix the problem. Therefore a problem can't be fixed unless somebody can make a profit from it. In the meantime the rest of us sit around in the dark waiting for the water to rise.
Heath has written enough essays like this to make me think about the next questions, even though he avoids it in this essay. Is the GOP intentionally fostering this helplessness? To what end? For a party that pushes the entrepreneurial spirit what is the benefit of helpless masses? Are sheep easier to rule over if they are complacent?