Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Monday, September 6, 2010

Obama Hands the Republican Machine A Big Bowl of Cherries--"Pits" Included

We are deeply disappointed by the Obama Administration's latest corporate welfare proposal by asking Congress to "approve at least $50 billion in long-term spending in the nation's roads, railways and runways." This latest move by the White House seems to be aimed at the November elections as a move to jump start the rising unemployment and sputtering jobs growth which all pre-election indicators show will drive the upcoming elections.

This will require the opening of more rock mining "pits" to supply the increased "infrastructure projects" should this proposal pass and we say that makes this bowl of cherries "sour fruit'' particularly to areas that are unfortunate enough to sit on limestone, sand, chert and dolomite i.e Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, Florida, Tennessee, California and Vincent, Alabama among them. Thanks so much for that Mr. President.

The  powerful Portland Cement industry will use this as an excuse to protest the recent EPA regulation changes to their emissions and before you know it that too will fall by the wayside. So far so good WH, there seems to be some real progressive thinking going on with this and the line of delineation between the democratic party and the ideals of big business are becoming as cohesive as sand through a sieve.

Party of "NO" (for now on this issue)

The Republicans have railed against the government's "out of control spending" in force but it should be interesting to see how they respond to this proposal as it moves along, particularly the Alabama representatives who are road and bridge happy to great faults.

The initial response to this is predictable from the obstructionists;
Republicans made it clear that Obama can expect no help from them.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the plan "should be met with justifiable skepticism" because it would raise taxes, while Americans are "still looking for the 'shovel-ready' jobs they were promised more than a year ago" in the original stimulus program.

The House Republican leader, John Boehner, added "We don't need more government 'stimulus' spending. "We need to end Washington Democrats' out-of-control spending spree, stop their tax hikes, and create jobs by eliminating the job-killing uncertainty that is hampering our small businesses."
Those are the voices from the national party and we would be surprised to see opposition to this from the state representatives--but it could happen because they assume voters are too ignorant to pay close attention. We will be watching this closely and will report on developments as we find them.

In the meantime, we can hear the gnashing of teeth and chop-licking from BARD, the road builders, Riley and corporate landowners from miles away at the promise of even more federal crapulus dollars to keep them propped up while Alabamians continue to suffer in this boondoggle of an economy.

In Alabama, proponents of the NorthernBeltline, Trinity Hospital move (a direct benefactor of the 280 plan) and the elevated Highway 280 project claim that building these highways will "stimulate Alabama's economy and create jobs, jobs, jobs."  In a followup article on Obama's morning announcement by Bloomberg there are words to the contrary on those claims of whether or not infrastructure plans are capable of producing what their stated intentions are;
Republican economists questioned whether rushing out more money to rebuild roads and other such spending was the best way to help the economy rebound.
“Infrastructure programs are always popular for stimulus talk but disappointing in practice.”
We've got two sides of the argument, Republican economists above and the liberal leaning PBS link below and they are both meeting in the middle in their conclusions. You don't build roads just for the sake of building them just to keep the federal money spigot turned on as the PBS report "Blueprint For America" clearly illustrates. It's a waste of the taxpayers money and benefits only select groups and interests.
Road to Nowhere courtesy of the federal government and the American taxpayer
 Note to Obama; get out the Republican chair line and dance with them that brung you.

Same note to Alabama gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks-D who (gads!) just came out in support of the powerful and porkulous Senator Richard Shelby-R ;
Sparks, a Democrat, said he supports Tuscaloosa Republican Richard Shelby in his bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate because of Shelby’s experience and ability to get things done.
“I don’t want Richard Shelby getting beat,” he said. “I want Richard Shelby helping me to save the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. I want Richard Shelby to help me when we start looking at military closures in Alabama because they are extremely important. Can you imagine the economic impact of the military leaving Alabama?”
The next thing you know these guys will be sharing each others skivies they have become so tightly wound with each other. At least in Alabama we know this is all part of the "good ol' boys" club and even though we find it distasteful as hell, we are not all that surprised.

But to see this camaraderie of propping up special interests on the taxpayer's dime at the national level signals a very ill wind blowing through the country similar to the one that surrounds Mexican restaurants on bean dip night.

The following linked special report from PBS illustrates the problems that result in some states from increased federal program dollars for infrastructure projects:
PBS Blueprint America "Zombie Highways"

Update 9/7/2010:  
On WAPIs morning radio show with Matt Murphy Steve Pryor of Pryor McCormick Investments told radio host Matt Murphy that "road projects do not create sustainable jobs."  Mr. Murphy agreed with him.
And so do we.

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  1. Now I get it, the PBS link makes it all fit together, I'm with you on this Max.

  2. The only way the government can successfully revive the economy is to invest in millions of small businesses.
    If the job you create isn't a sustainable job that will continue indefinitely without the government stimulus then one is simply dropping money from a helicopter into a crowd of workers when all of the entrepreneurs are away on vacation!
    In other words, a tiny tiny slight sparkle that quickly fades as we continue our descent.

  3. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this part of what the previous stimulus package was for? The one we have only spent 10% of and is laden with pork projects?
    These road plans do not work, they have been tried since the the 1930s and not a one of then has ever turned out as planned.
    Obama should know better than this.

  4. Sent to us by Birmingham News forum poster from a story in today's edition of the paper;

    "CHS and Trinity want to trade up to a wealthier patient population. It's not about easier access or room to expand; they've got both at the Crestwood location. What they don't have are patients with the same income as those in the 280-459 corridor.
    If Trinity wants a better return, I could understand that.
    But don't ask taxpayers to fork over $55 million in tax abatements and incentives PLUS an $800 million road.
    Some here have connected the dots between ALDOT's push for the elevated 280 and the hospital relocation. Trinity's move conveniently fuels ALDOT's fire for the toll road, and Trinity almost certainly wouldn't move there without the promise of the greatly widened 280 and I-459.
    That, plus the Vincent quarry all smell like a very expensive--to taxpayers-- fix is in."

    Another poster raised a really good point;

    "Maybe Shelby County could contribute $55 million to the effort."

    Which begs the question of why Jefferson County is propping up Shelby County?

    Excellent points both of these posters made and we appreciate being alerted to them and include them for their relevancy to this argument.



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