It's a reflection of these desperate times that I find myself agreeing with Bob Herbert, but his complaints about the anodyne infrastructure spending as contemplated in the House's "stimulus" package are spot on. Haven't we been hearing about our "crumbling infrastructure" ever since conservative Republicans started winning presidential elections? Didn't every lefty and their "partner" break a gasket over the now infamous Minneapolis bridge? Not to mention the New Orleans levees (by the way, thanks Bob for admitting that the floods in New Orleans were the result of neglect at the local level, rather than Rovian ethnic cleansing)? And isn't repairing "our crumbling infrastructure" one of the few things for which there is genuine bi-partisan support.
My only criticism of Herbert's complaint has to do with the pains he goes through to avoid blaming a certain political party and a certain President who presently control the purse strings. Instead, Herbert blames a vague "we," or "our leaders." He predictably points out that "we" have not hesitated to throw billions at banks to no apparent effect. Sorry, but some of "us" have been against this from the beginning, and in fact the opponents of the bailouts Herbert rails against are almost all on the GOP side (in Herbert's world the "wrong" side). There's a lot of bi-partisanship to be found on the anti-bailout/pro-infrastructure side, but Herbert can't even begin to admit that the side he has made a career excoriating might be on the right side, and the handsome young redeemer he supports is on the wrong side.
In his speech on the economy right before the Inaguration, Obama said he wanted to rebuild our "crumbling infrastructure" and more specifically that he wanted to create a new "smart power grid." We were told that this crisis is a once in a lifetime moment to accomplish Big Things becasue there is so much support for stimulus to stoke an economic recovery. So where is it?